Updated: Aug 24, 2020
by Grayshott Parish Council
Despite the recent lockdown - or perhaps because of it - your Parish Council and its gardening volunteers were keener than ever to be bringing you Grayshott in Bloom this year.
Around 60 hanging baskets and some troughs and pots adorn the retail roads each year to enhance and enliven our village centre.
This initiative, started a number of years ago by the "Buy in Grayshott" campaign, is run by volunteers on behalf of your Parish Council, supported by a grant from the Hidden Gardens of Grayshott. This article shows you the activities that take place all year round to bring you Grayshott in Bloom.
Planning has started. Discussions are held with the bedding plants supplier to review the summer’s baskets and choose the plants to be ordered for the next year. Why so early? Well, this is when the nursery orders seeds and starts preparing for summer growing, which begins immediately after they dispatch their Christmas stock.
The Village Garden volunteers walk the village to assess whether each basket location is still suitable for the coming summer. This includes assessing whether older properties can have brackets affixed securely and that our lovely blooms work in harmony with the village signage or awnings. Most importantly, we must make sure that everything can be easily watered. Meanwhile, the Parish Council contacts our village retailers and businesses to confirm their participation in the scheme and we are delighted to have a high degree of participation each year.
With numbers finalized bedding plants can be ordered from Lyewood Nursery, in Ropley.
Spring has sprung and sees the volunteers checking the bolt fastenings of the existing basket brackets. The baskets are very heavy once watered, so maintenance on the brackets is a very important part of the yearly cycle. The baskets differ significantly from those you might see in a domestic setting. Used by Councils all over the country, they are made from recycled plastic and house a water reservoir in the base with a wick system which runs up into the compost. With these reservoir baskets, we can be much more economical with our water usage.
The busiest month of the year! Baskets, troughs and pots are cleaned and repaired where necessary. Wicks are replaced, chains are oiled, hanging rings that have gone missing are replaced with new ones. The nursery delivers 600 plants and 1000 litres of specially mixed compost so that the team of volunteers can gather together and work a production line to create the floral display. Due to the lockdown, just two members from the same household completed the task this year, but hopefully normal service will be resumed next year. We aim for the baskets to be displayed just before the end of May and depending on the weather conditions, the baskets can remain until the third week in September.
The volunteers then plant out the remaining bedding plants in the Memorial Garden and the planters and pots in the Village Square. The Parish Council would like you to join in with saying a large thank you to these dedicated volunteers for their gardening contributions which we hope is appreciated by residents and visitors alike.
Peter Oliver from Pic-a-Lily, a gardening business based in Liss, has the contract to hang and water the baskets and troughs during their 12-16-week display. You may well have seen Peter and his team out with the Grayshott in Bloom water bowser, funded by Grayshott Pottery, which holds 1000ltr of water. Watering normally happens twice a week but if conditions are very dry this may need to be more, particularly from mid-July onwards, when the plants have grown to fill the baskets.
Once the baskets have been removed at the end of Summer, they are checked for repairs and stored by Pic-a-Lily until the next season. Volunteers meet with the Parish Clerk to review the year gone, ready to begin again in October.
So, there we have it! A year in the life of Grayshott in Bloom. We hope it brings colour and cheer to our Village.
If you enjoy Grayshott in Bloom and can contribute with a couple of hours of your time in 2021 then please contact Katie Weir on 01428 606510. No gardening experience required.
Hidden Gardens of Grayshott are also looking for a range of volunteers for their event on May 30th/31st 2021, please apply via our online form if you would like to get involved. You don’t even have to have a garden to join in the fun, if you love baking then this could be a fantastic opportunity to show off your skills.
Funds raised at the Hidden Gardens of Grayshott event are then granted to local gardening projects, like Grayshott in Bloom. See www.hiddengardensofgrayshott.co.uk. For more information.