In bloom group back at the job of brightening up village
DESPITE a two-month setback when weeds were allowed to run riot, volunteer gardeners in Middleton-in-Teesdale have ensured their village is looking its best this summer.
Middleton-in-Bloom was forced to cancel an order for seedlings from Ravensworth Nurseries and had to put all its work on hold when the coronavirus clampdown happened in March.
But when restrictions were eased, they were back in business ordering £700 worth of bedding plants and set about making up for lost time.
Group leader Pam Phillips said: “We stripped out all the old violas and the 1,000 narcissus which had created a lovely display in the spring. We spent 60 volunteer hours in one week [putting in the bedding plants]. There was a lot of weeding to be done.”
A prolonged hot spell late in the spring proved a trying time for the volunteers who spent hours watering the village’s floral display.
Group member Jo Lee said: “Thank goodness for the mobile water bowser – it has made life a lot easier.”
The bowser was bought last year with a cash grant from county councillors Ted Henderson and Richard Bell. On a positive note the lockdown restrictions attracted a new volunteer to the female dominated group in the form Harry Bowron. He said: “I had seen them out gardening and as I am on furlough, I thought it would be a good opportunity to meet more people.”
Despite the group not having been able to do any fundraising this year they still have various projects in the pipeline. Mrs Phillips said: “We will carry on tending the village because we were not out for two months and the weeds in the cobbles have built up. At the end of the season we will sort out the wildflower garden. We are not going to be able to spend what we want next year. It is not fair on local businesses to ask because they have suffered over the crisis.”
Albeit the group may
not have much cash, they
are still keen to
impress Northumbria-in-Bloom judges next year by coming up with unique ideas, one of which they will do in collaboration with teachers and engineering students from Darlington College.
Christine Cartwright said: “We have them coming in September to talk about making a metal sculpture of a sheep to reflect the village’s agricultural heritage and the industrial heritage.”