Silloth in Bloom Prepares to Fly the Flag for Cumbria in National Royal Horticultural Society Competition

Group shares its top gardening tips ahead of judging

The Silloth in Bloom group has started preparing the town to look its best for this year’s Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Britain in Bloom Finals competition.

Silloth-on-Solway is one of 79 finalists vying to win a coveted Gold medal and be crowned one of the cleanest, greenest and most beautiful places in the UK.

In August, the Silloth in Bloom group will lead RHS Britain in Bloom judges on a tour of their area. The winners will be announced at the Britain in Bloom awards ceremony in Llandudno, North Wales on 27 October.

The group’s volunteers and Town Council’s grounds maintenance staff have been working on the garden at the Discovery Centre, by moving some large shrubs to make space for additional planting. New shrubs have been planted in the beds along Criffel Street and beds have been prepared prior to sowing an annual Wildflower meadow mix in the Community Garden and in the bed overlooking the Edwardian toilets.

Holme Low Parish Projects Group is holding a community litter picking event on 20 May to tidy up the footpath between Barracks Bridge and Causewayhead corner.  Everyone is welcome to come along and pitch in. The group will be meeting outside the Community Hall on Petteril Street, Silloth at 10.00 am, with lunch provided afterwards.

Bill Jefferson, Chair of Silloth in Bloom group said: “Our aim is to get the whole community involved, whether you’re a beginner gardener or a seasoned expert. Even just adding a few plants to your front garden, planting up a container or picking up litter on your street can make a big difference to making Silloth a greener and more pleasant place to live.”

“Last year we won a record number of awards at Cumbria in Bloom and went very close to winning at the Nationals in Birmingham.  This year we stand a real chance of gold in the Nationals in Llandudno. I believe we can do it.”

Silloth in Bloom has shared their top tips for gardeners this month:

  1. If you have a bare patch of soil in a sunny spot, try sowing a bee-friendly annual mix for a big splash of colour that will delight the bees
  2. Finish pruning evergreen shrubs and hedges but take the greatest care that there are no bird nests present
  3. Garden centres are crammed with plants, so now is the time to get more to fill in gaps, clothe bare fences and replant beds and borders
  4. Avoid the Easter rush and go plant shopping before or after Easter
  5. Be wary of buying tender plants (a few more frosts cannot be ruled out) and delay buying tender plants for a few weeks (unless you have a greenhouse to keep them in)
  6. Sow seeds outdoors – hardy vegetables such as carrots, lettuce and peas or annual flowers such as cornflowers and sunflowers
  7. Plant out sweet peas – if you don’t have any, garden centres carry good stocks
  8. Plant tubers and bulbs such as dahlias, gladioli and potatoes
  9. Fill your greenhouse with aubergines, chilli, cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes
  10. Dead head daffodils and other bulbs as they go over to encourage bulb production rather than seeds

For more information please contact:  Wendy Jameson, Secretary of Silloth in Bloom. Tel: 0777 5686857  Email:

Community Litter Pick

On Saturday 20th May 2017, a Community Litter Pick will take place which has been organised by Holme Low Parish Projects Group.  We will be meeting at the Community Hall on Petteril Street, Silloth at 10.00am and meeting again afterwards for a spot of lunch.

The aim is to tidy up the footpath between Barracks Bridge and Causewayhead corner which is along the main road into Silloth.   Litter pickers and bags etc will be provided.  Volunteers will be very welcome.  Please pop along and lend a hand.  We look forward to seeing you there.

Three north Cumbrian towns shortlisted for Britain In Bloom

bibwithrhs-ukfinalist2017Beautiful, green and clean.  North Cumbria is boasting three finalists in this year’s Britain in Bloom competition.

Dalston, near Carlisle, Silloth and Penrith Business Improvement District (BID) – along with Kendal – have been selected to represent the county at the country’s biggest horticultural awards.

They have been chosen for their commitment to environmental responsibility, high levels of community participation and their outstanding gardening achievement.

To read the full article which was published in the News & Star on 2 February 2017 click here.



bees-needs-logo-20161                    Green Flag Award Logo Colour JPEG

We are proud to announce that the Heritage Rose & Bee Garden on Silloth Green has won a Bees’ Needs Award.

The Award is run in conjunction with Defra and the National Pollinator Strategy. The Award is presented to Green Flag Award or Green Flag Community Award winning parks and green spaces in England that have made improvements to encourage pollinators across towns, cities and the wider countryside.  Silloth Green has been awarded a Green Flag for four years in succession. The coveted award is a benchmark national standard for parks and green spaces in the UK. It recognises that the Green meets the extremely high standards set by Keep Britain Tidy.

Habitat loss is a key factor affecting pollinator population and this award is looking to increase awareness and contribute to improved pollinator-friendly environments.  Applicant sites are required to prove that they are making positive changes to their green spaces that encourage and increase pollinator-friendly habitats and food sources throughout the year.

A panel of experts selected winners, with the top five projects being presented with their Award at a special event which will take place at Kew Gardens, London on Tuesday 8th November.  Vivian Russell will be attending the Bees’ Needs Champions event on behalf of Silloth.

Tony Markley, Mayor of Silloth said

“This is a fantastic achievement for Silloth and is a continuation of the achievements of recent years. None of this would have been possible without teamwork.  Vivian has led the project, with support from the Town Council’s grounds maintenance team and other volunteers.  The Bee Hotel was novel idea for a seaside town and replicates the Pagoda up on the hill which overlooks the sea.  We always welcome visitors to the town but the Bee Hotel provides visitors of the insect variety with a place to stay too.”

The sunken Heritage Rose Garden was created in 1953 to celebrate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.  Measuring 30m by 20m, it lies close to the sea, protected for the most part by a shelter belt of rhododendron and holly. The garden was renovated in 2012 but by mid 2014, many of the roses were failing due to poor drainage caused by compaction in the underlying clay base. Rectifying the drainage would still have left the problem of rose sickness, requiring the replacement of tons of earth. This led to a complete rethink of the garden.  Silloth Town Council decided to bring the garden into the 21st century and address pressing concerns over the welfare of our bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects, while at the same time preserving the history of the site.

The garden has now been entirely replanted with bee and butterfly friendly plants, including 40 roses which attract bees and withstand the wind blowing off the sea where the garden is exposed.

Rose hedges divide the garden into four sections: garden plants for bees facing the sea, wild flowers for bees facing the Arcade, butterfly plants facing the Green, and a decorative vegetable plot around hazel wigwams with a double row of dahlias.

The roses were planted in cardboard boxes using fresh soil, as this is the best method of dealing with ‘rose sickness’.

In the middle of the garden is our Bee Hotel, a replica of the Victorian Pagoda at the top of the wooded hill above the Splash Pool, built by the Silloth Green Maintenance team. The sunny side facing the Green is dedicated to nesting sites for solitary bees, the other three sides serve as winter hibernation and shelter for all the insects which we hope will visit our garden.

Interpretation panels have been installed with more detail about the garden, the types of bees and butterflies it is planted for, and info on the life cycle of bumblebees, honeybees and solitary bees.

As the new Bee Garden began to flourish and the bees, bugs and butterflies began to arrive, word spread and local people began to develop interest.  Word soon spread beyond Silloth too, and people of all ages travelled from many different locations to visit the garden. The garden’s creator Vivian Russell, has spent many hours talking to them, discussing the different species of bees, bugs and butterflies, as well as the many different plants in the garden.

The Bee and Bug Hotel provides nesting sites for solitary bees and a dry place for butterflies, moths, beetles, ladybirds, lacewings and earwigs to shelter and over winter.  Each insect has a role to play in a garden and we rely on the diversity of plants and creatures to help the garden function as a natural balanced ecosystem with no attempt to control or interfere with their lives.

The garden has become a place where everyone can come on a sunny day, sit on the grassy bank, on one of the many benches, or on their mobility scooters and watch the beauty of nature at work.

Bill Jefferson OBE, Chair of the Parks Committee and Chair of Silloth in Bloom Community Team said

“I am delighted that Vivian’s major creation of the Silloth Bee Garden has received national specialist success, coming on top of the Royal Horticultural Society tributes from this year’s judges at Cumbria and National level. It has been an outstanding personal achievement for all her hard work and professional dedication. Well done and all our thanks.”

In the 2016 Cumbria in Bloom competition, the Heritage Rose & Bee Garden was a winner of the Royal Horticultural Society ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ Award, gaining a Level 5 ‘Outstanding’ result. The Heritage Rose and Bee Garden was also winner of the Royal Horticultural Society ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ National Certificate of Distinction.

Vivian Russell was recognised for her ‘Outstanding contribution to Cumbria in Bloom’ with a ‘joint’ Community Champion Award, which acknowledges all the hours she has spent working on the Heritage Rose and Bee Garden, planting of the flower beds and planters on Criffel Street and supporting the various Silloth in Bloom projects this year.


Britain in Bloom UK Finals Awards Ceremony 2016

It’s a Silver Gilt Award for Silloth!


In February of this year, Silloth received the news that it had been shortlisted as a finalist in the Britain in Bloom competition in the Coastal – Population up to 12K category, alongside contenders from St Brelade, Newcastle (NI), Bute, Mablethorpe, Filey and Tenby.  After months of preparation, various meetings and a lot of work by the whole community, the judges from Britain in Bloom, Keith Jackson and Mark Wasilewski, visited the town on 4 August.

29697360133_94240e7804_k2After weeks of trepidation, the Britain in Bloom UK Finals Awards Ceremony 2016, took place on 14 October at Edgbaston Stadium, in Birmingham.  Almost 500 delegates from all over the country attended the presentation, with Silloth represented by Bill Jefferson (Chair of Silloth in Bloom), Tony Markley (Mayor of Silloth), Wendy Jameson (Town Clerk and Secretary of Silloth in Bloom) and volunteers, Vivian Russell and Anne Winter.

30212241052_54bcd914be_k1Silloth-on-Solway were honoured to receive a Silver Gilt Award for the Coastal Town (up to 12k) category, with St Brelade in Jersey being the overall category winner.  Bill Jefferson and Tony Markley were presented with the award by Roger Burnett, Chair of the RHS Britain in Bloom judging panel.

Tony Markley, Mayor of Silloth said

“This is a fantastic achievement for the town.  Special thanks go to the Silloth in Bloom team, community volunteers, local businesses and the Town Council’s grounds maintenance team, as this could not have been achieved without them. Silloth is the most North Westerly town in England and it is phenomenal to have gained national recognition for a small town, with a population of less than 3000 people.”

“Working together with the Councils, business and local community can be both challenging and rewarding but the results are so beneficial for the town which has been proven this year, with the outstanding awards and comments received from residents and visitors.”

Bill Jefferson OBE, Chairman of Silloth in Bloom said

“Silloth-on-Solway is delighted to have received national recognition at Birmingham; the success is down to many and there have been several outstanding efforts from individual volunteers. The role of successive RHS judges (and Green Flag) at Cumbria in Bloom and Britain in Bloom has been absolutely crucial over the years in enabling Silloth to progress to this level and I thank them all, most sincerely, for their valuable time and professional advice. We are very proud to receive our award on behalf of our town.”

“The impact on our small community on succeeding nationally cannot be over-estimated. Success at Cumbria level over the last three or four years has been hard won, progressive and encouraging.  National level has represented a serious step up for us but our community has risen to the challenge beyond expectation.  We must now focus, not only on celebrating our achievements, but also on sustaining them. Standing still is not an option, but today, we can all feel proud.”

30293217926_b2ae6a3a91_kThe RHS Britain in Bloom UK Finals brings together the highest achievers from all of the 16 regions and nations participating in the campaign and, as a result, the expectations are high and the judging is rigorous.  The judges look for year round achievements in three core areas:  Horticultural Achievement, Environmental Responsibility and Community Participation.  Keith and Mark, the Britain in Bloom judges said “this first time entry will surely continue to grow from strength to strength and is most certainly one to watch for the future.  This young Bloom group could be the catalyst for great change within the community and the judges look forward to hearing of the progress made in the years to come”.

Also representing Cumbria at the Awards ceremony were Dalston and Kendal.  Dalston achieved a Silver Gilt Award in the Large Village Category and Kendal were awarded a Silver Gilt in the Large Town category, with an additional Award for Overcoming Adversity, for brightening up the town after the December floods.  A tremendous achievement by all three groups from Cumbria.

30293183036_c65e9cff0d_kThe final presentation of the evening was the RHS Britain in Bloom Community Champion Award which is the only RHS award given to individuals, in recognition of their exceptional commitment and dedication to Britain in Bloom in their community.  Bill Jefferson OBE, was presented with a well-deserved Community Champion Award, much to his shock and surprise.  Bill has been involved with Silloth’s ‘in Bloom’ activities for the last 3 years and is Chairman of the Silloth in Bloom community team.  Bill is also a Town Councillor, an Allerdale Councillor, Chairman of the Solway Coast AONB and a member of the Lake District National Park.

Britain in Bloom Finalist

%d bloggers like this: