Britain in Bloom Judges Visit 2016

By Anna Malina

Britain in Bloom judges, Mark Wasilewski and Keith Jackson visited Silloth on 4th August, 2016 to judge ‘Silloth in Bloom’. The town has been nominated as a finalist in Britain in Bloom’s ‘Small Coastal Town’ category and has been preparing for the visit for some months.

At 8.45am, Mark and Keith were formally welcomed to the town, greeted by Silloth on Solway Town Council Mayor, Tony Markley, the Silloth in Bloom Chairman, Cllr. Bill Jefferson and Golf Hotel owner, Philip Cueto, who provided the hotel venue for the presentation and reception.

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From Left: Cllr. Bill Jefferson, Chair of Silloth in Bloom; Philip Cueto owner of Golf Hotel (venue sponsor), Mayor Tony Markley and Britain in Bloom judges, Keith Jackson and Mark Wasilewski. Photo: Anna Malina.
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Display Board created and sponsored by John Cook with content by Anna Malina.

After a presentation  to Mark and Keith by  Anna Malina (Silloth in Bloom Website, Portfolio and Tour Co-ordinator), and Cllr. Bill Jefferson (Silloth in Bloom Chairman), the judges tour began at 9.20am, when the judges crossed Criffel Street to Silloth Green.

The Judges were taken first to the Silloth Green Community Garden, where they met volunteer, Anne Winter, who routinely cares for the Garden.

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Volunteer Anne Winter meeting the Britain in Bloom judges in the Community Garden. Photo: Anna Malina.

Several other volunteers were also introduced to Mark and Keith.

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Judges meeting young Community Garden Volunteer. Photo Anna Malina

The judges were invited to (re)hoist the Green Flag, which was awarded to Silloth in 2016, for the fourth year running.

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Britain in Bloom judges hoisting Silloth’s Green Flag. Photo Anna Malina
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Silloth Town Councillors, Green staff and Volunteers with the Green Flag. Photo Anna Malina

Mark and Keith were then introduced to representatives from the Council Maintenance Team, Ken Wannop (Parks Manager), and Aaron (Park Supervisor), and the Town Clerk, Wendy Jameson, who responded to questions about their various different roles.

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Judges introduced to the Green Maintenance Team and Town Clerk, Wendy Jameson. Photo Anna Malina

Next came a visit to the Rotary Club Tree, where Fausto Previtali explained the background to the tree and talked about the blooms planted around it.

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Fausto Previtali talking to the judges about the Rotary Club Tree. Photo Anna Malina
Rotary Club Tree

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After viewing the Story Telling Chair, main interpretation signage and the Wishing Well, the judges met Vivian Russell, who described the ideas behind  the new bedding plants on Criffel Street.

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Vivian Russell explaining new planting in Criffel Street beds. Photo by Anna Malina

The judges moved on to view the Mosaic planting. The mosaic was made by youngsters from the local school to celebrate the Millenium.

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New planting around the Mosaic. Photo by Anna Malina

Next came a visit to the War Memorial and the Children’s planting at Christ Church.

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Visiting War Memorial Planting
Shaun the Sheep Planting by Solway Community School Pupils.

Then, Mark and Keith had a quick look at Mrs Wilson‘s and the hanging baskets, also a few residential gardens close to Christ Church.

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Hanging baskets around ‘Mrs Wilsons Coffee House’ (named after opera siger Kathleen Ferrier, who lived and taught music in the town. Photo Anna Malina
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Silloth is set out in a grid pattern and many houses in the centre have small narrow courtyard gardens cared for by their owners.

The judges then passed the rare Monkey Puzzle trees at St Andrew’s Church, Silloth, and made their way to the Discovery Centre Garden,  outside the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) base, where they chatted to the Women’s Institute Ladies who routinely care for the garden.

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Judges meeting the WI ladies at the Discovery Centre Garden. Photo Anna Malina

After passing the gardens at the Good Companions Care Home, the BMX Track, the Recycling Area and the Town Council Maintenance Yard, the judges made their way to the Heritage Rose and Bee Garden, where they spoke at length to volunteer, Vivian Russell. Vivian, who designed and planted the garden and cares for it routinely, described the layout and the plants that attract little visitors and help protect the environment.

Judges shown round the Bee garden by Vivian Russell who has spent around 3000 hours as a volunteer growing from seed, planting and nurturing the garden. Photos Anna Malina. 

The judges spent some time reading the information on the Lecturns, one of which is placed at each end of the entrance to the Heritage Rose and Bee Garden. The layout, the plants used and the insects attracted to the garden are all described in detail, so providing visitors with the information needed to plant their own gardens for pollinators.

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Bee Garden Lecturn, describing the plant layout and the plants used in the garden to attract pollinators. Bees, bugs and butterflies that have visited the garden are also illustrated.

After spending a considerable amount of time in the Bee Garden, the judges made their way to the Victorian Pagoda on Silloth Green, noting the directional heritage panels above the viewing windows and the panoramic view over the Solway Firth to Dumfries in Scotland.

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Victorian Pagoda, Silloth Green
One of the directional heritage Panels above the viewing windows inside the pagoda.
One of the directional heritage Panels above the viewing windows inside the pagoda.
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View over the Solway. Photo Chris White

Unfortunately, the judges were too early in the day to view the wonderful Silloth Sunsets

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Pagoda at Sunset.

After walking past the Splash pad, the judges admired the Adventure Play area enjoyed by local children and visitors. The natural areas and pine plantations around the play areas were highlighted.

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Splash pad, Silloth Green. Photo Anna Malina.
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Adventure Play Area, Silloth Green. Photo Anna Malina
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Judges, Mark Wasilewski and Keith Jackson baving the Adventure Play Area, Silloth Green. Photo Anna Malina
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Britain in Bloom Judges and Bill Jefferson in Adventure Play Area. Silloth Green. Photo Anna Malina

Next stop was the RNLI Station to meet Eddie Studholme and some of the Lifeboat Crew, who described the course they ran recently for youngsters to instill a sense of responsibility and care for the community.

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Britain in Bloom judges at the RNLI Station to meet Eddie Studholme Operations Manager and some of the crew. Photo Anna Malina
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Eddie Studhome and the Lifeboat. Photo Anna Malina

Next the judges were ferried by car to the new planting beds at the entrance to Hylton Park, sponsored by Stanwix Holiday Park.

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New bedding and seating Area. Sponsored by Stanwix with additional seat donated by Vintage Rally Group.

The next stop was Silloth-on-Solway Golf Club, where the judges discussed biodiversity and care of the course with the Course Groundsman.

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Silloth-on-Solway Golf Club

silloth Golf Club image from website

After a little more than the planned two and a half hour tour, the judges returned to meet volunteers and have a well deserved lunch at the Golf Hotel.

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Judges, Mark and Keith with Bill Jefferson and volunteers at lunch reception in the Golf Hotel. Photo Anna Malina
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Silloth in Bloom Volunteers at Lunch reception, Golf Hotel. Photo Anna Malina

‘Silloth in Bloom’ members thank Mark and Keith for their visit and wish them well.

The Britain in Bloom Awards Ceremony will take place in Birmingham on 14th October, 2016, at which time the competition winners will be announced.

Content and photos Anna Malina. email

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