It might be winter, but we’re sowing seeds of a spectacular spring and summer show

Published on: 02 Feb 2016

Well, all the running around has finally finished and I hope you are now getting back to some sort of normality after the Christmas festivities. I hope you are all enjoying a peaceful and prosperous New Year.
I, personally, am now looking forward to seeing the bulbs and flowers which will be popping up around Downend and Bromley Heath in the near future. I am sure that this year they will all be flowering early due to the unseasonably warm weather we have had this winter – very good for the heating bills but extremely strange for us and the flowers.
Now, you would think December was a quiet month for Downend and Bromley Heath in Bloom but not so. We started with a cheque presentation at the Sandringham for £850. A fantastic amount which was raised at last July’s Heathfest and will go towards our summer planting for this year. We would like to give our grateful thanks to all the committee of Heathfest for this wonderful contribution.
On a very cold, windy and wet day in December members of our group set up a stall at the Cleeve Wood shops Christmas event. A great Christmas gathering, which seems to grow in size year on year. Including a hog roast and stalls with raffles, Christmas ware etc, it always amazes me how so few shops can get together and produce such a fantastic event. We raised over £200 on the day which again will contribute to this year’s planting and it also shows the generosity and commitment of the people of the area to what we are achieving as a group. Thank you to all the organisers of this event who do such a great job!
We also found time to have our last meeting of the year where our chairman, Chris, reviewed the many achievements we have had this year. As it was our final meeting we also partook of some very delightful refreshments that members of the group had kindly brought along.
One piece of news to come from the meeting is that Councillor Martyn Poole, one of our members, is starting up a men’s group in the New Year to make various projects out of wood.
These “Men in the Shed” groups are becoming increasingly popular as there are many women’s groups around but less opportunity for men to socialize together. My husband Dave and I have therefore spent the whole of December saying “that will be good to make and sell” wherever we have seen something made of wood. So watch out all you men of Downend and Bromley Heath – we aim to keep you working very hard!
The other interesting item on the agenda was the possibility of entering Downend and Bromley Heath into the Britain in Bloom contest so maybe watch this space in the future!!
One of the final tasks of the year was the planting of three new Betula Jacquemontii trees (Silver Birch in layman’s terms!) outside of the BT exchange building in Downend. The new, bespoke containers were donated by Mr and Mrs Heal of Four Acre Crescent (some of you may have been to their open garden events) and the trees now stand proudly in them outside the building. Why not go and take a look and admire the beautiful bark that the trees have? It will be exciting to see them later in the year when they have grown all their summer foliage. Thanks go to the burly men on our committee who gave up their time on a cold winter’s day to manoeuvre over four tons of soil before planting the trees. A job well done!
Talking of trees I am sure people have noticed that the trees on Cleeve Hill have been replaced.
Let us hope these thrive undamaged! Also to be replaced are two cherry trees on Bromley Heath Road which have died.
Finally I just want to give you a taster of our plans for this summer’s planting. Our theme in the centre of Downend will be “a Festival of Flowers” and we are hoping and planning to have floral displays running from the Mezze through the High Street right up to Christchurch. These displays will range from rail baskets, hanging planters, flowers in the beds under the trees and floor planters (of course made by “Men in the shed”).  A complete avenue of colour.
We are also hoping to plant more of the annual wild flower beds which were so successful last year and also under plant some of the trees with wild flowers. Finally we will also have our three newly purchased (thanks to a grant from the Chase Forum) six-tier planters, which will be placed around the area and it is hoped these will be making a stunning impact.
Our first meeting of the New Year will take place at St Augustine’s Church on Monday March 7, 7pm. We are a very friendly group so if you are interested in what we are trying to achieve in the area do come along and join us.
Jackie Baker,
Downend In Bloom

Downend Delight

Summer rainbow of colours, fresh and bold
Before my eyes, as through Downend I strolled.
This way and that were flowers so fair.
How my heart was glad that I was there.
Now though, winter’s shadow is cast.
Bright flowers still greet me as I stroll past.
Polyanthus, pansies, with their smiles so sweet
Cheer me as I make my way, along the street.

Cathryn Pick


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