Britain in Bloom judges, Ian Beaney and Richard Budge visited Silloth on 2nd August, 2017 to judge ‘Silloth in Bloom’. The town has been nominated as a finalist in Britain in Bloom’s Coastal Town (up to 12k) category and has been preparing for the visit for some months.
After a presentation to Ian and Richard by Bill Jefferson (Silloth in Bloom Chairman) and Wendy Jameson (Silloth in Bloom Secretary & Co-ordinator), the judges tour began at 9.45am, when the judges crossed over Criffel Street to Silloth Green.
The judges were taken first to the Community Garden, where they were introduced to representatives from the Council’s Maintenance Team, Ken Wannop (Parks Manager) and Aaron Ward (Park Supervisor).
The judges were invited to hoist the 2017/18 Green Flag, which was awarded to Silloth for the fifth year in succession.
The judges met volunteers Anne Winter and Judith Scott, who spend many hours caring for the Garden and explained the new plants introduced this year and plans for further improvements.
Next came a visit to the Rotary Club Tree, where Bill explained the background to the tree.
The judges viewed the colourful summer bedding on Criffel Street and provided some useful advice on the ornamental shrubs.
The judges were then taken to the Silloth-on-Solway Community Shop and were introduced to Doreen Mathews and the ladies who work in the shop. The shop is dedicated to raising funds to support local community activities, having raised over £100k in the last 7 years.
The judges viewed the shrub bed opposite Christ Church where the lavender was buzzing with activity from pollinators. They viewed the new sweet pea planters and provided some useful guidance.
The judges viewed the planters and the drinking fountain which are being brought back into use in other towns.
The judges moved on to view the Mosaic which was created for the millennium. The tiles were made by youngsters and other local people, to illustrate cherished features of the town and its history, with the actual stone structure and paving having been constructed by our Park Manager.
Next came a visit to the Queens Hotel, to meet John Morgan and to view the colourful display of planters and window boxes.
The judges viewed the planting at the war memorial and at the entrance to Christ Church, including the archway which was repainted by volunteers from the church.
The judges were then shown the garden of a local resident on Esk Street, who was commended for her wonderful planters and garden which is very well cared for.
Silloth is set out in a grid pattern and many houses in the centre have small courtyard gardens at the front of their properties.
The judges then viewed the planters at St Andrew’s United Reformed Church, planted by youngsters from the Silloth Cubs and also viewed the gardens and the rare Monkey Puzzle Trees within the grounds.
The judges noted the planters at the Community Hall which is run by the Town Council for the benefit of the local community.
The judges made their way to the Discovery Centre Garden, where they chatted to the Women’s Institute Ladies, who spend many hours looking after the garden. The judges had a quick look inside the Discovery Centre while they were there.
After walking across the hollow, passing the Good Companions Care Home, the BMX Track and the Town Council Maintenance Yard, the judges viewed interior of the restored Edwardian toilets and also the wildflower border which has really come into bloom over the last few days.
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.
The judges were shown the Lecterns located at each end of the garden. The layout, the plants used and the insects attracted to the garden are all described in detail, providing visitors with the information needed to plant their own gardens for pollinators.
After spending a considerable amount of time in the Bee Garden, the judges then made their way to the Victorian Pagoda, at which point it started to rain slightly. Once at the Pagoda, the judges noted the directional heritage panels above the viewing windows and the panoramic view over the Solway Firth to Dumfries in Scotland.
After walking past the Splash pad, the judges walked through the Woodland play area, enjoyed by local children and Britain in Bloom judges alike. Thankfully the rain stopped. The natural areas and pine plantations around the play area was highlighted.
Next stop was the RNLI Station to meet Eddie Studholme and some of the Lifeboat Crew, who provide a vital service and are an important part of the community.
Unfortunately, the judges were unable to visit the Golf Club, due to a lack of time but met Margaret English, the lady Captain from the club whilst at the Lifeboat Station.
The judges walked past Carrs Flour Mill, up Lawn Terrace, through the Community Garden and back to the Golf Hotel, to meet volunteers and have a well-deserved lunch.
Bill thanked everyone present for all they had done over the last year and thanked Ian and Richard for their visit to the town. Richard then said a few words and thanked everyone, including Bill for making them feel welcome.
We would like to thank Philip Cueto and his staff for allowing us to use the Golf Hotel for today’s visit and providing lunch. Thanks to everyone who took part in the Town Centre clean up event on Monday which certainly helped in preparing for the visit by the judges. We would also like to thank all members of our community for their enormous efforts in support of our Britain in Bloom preparations.
Bill Jefferson, Chair of Silloth in Bloom said: “I think today’s visit went well. We have focused on improvements from last years’ visit and referred to actions taken on advice from the 2016 judges. The judges clearly enjoyed this morning, as did we all and thankfully the weather held up………so fingers crossed.”
The Britain in Bloom Awards Ceremony will take place in Llandudno, North Wales on 27 October, at which time the competition winners will be announced.