We've got blooming Santas all over the place ...

Published on: 30 Sep 2016


I'M sorry to be talking about Christmas so early but at the time of writing this I am inundated with Father Christmases all over my dining room table. Dave and I have been making decorations to hopefully sell to raise funds towards providing next year's floral displays. The Men and his Tools group will also be making wooden Christmas trees to sell. Both of these Christmas decorations will be available at the Cleeve Wood shops Christmas event on Saturday November 26 so why not come along and have a browse.

It does seem strange to be talking so early about raising funds for next year's plants but we do have a lot to live up to after the displays this year. We have had so many overwhelming comments about these displays including the comment that they 'are better than the flowers in Bath'. We have also been asked by Chipping Sodbury if they could pick our brains about our displays as they have been so spectacular. Praise indeed, especially as I believe both of these are medal winners in Britain in Bloom!

We did, however, have a couple of disappointments this summer with the displays. Blaise Nursery, who put up our rail baskets, changed their fixings and these worked loose resulting in two of the baskets falling over. Also one of the wooden planters outside of the fabric shop was vandalised one Saturday evening. Kustom furniture paid for more plants to renew the planter, which was a very kind gesture.

When we were walking through Downend a few weeks ago I was very taken with the planter outside of the hairdressers, Coco. The plants were enormous so I went in and asked the ladies if they had been talking to their flowers as it was such a fabulous display! Well done to all of them for watering, deadheading and nurturing what is a brilliant display and arguably the best in the High Street! Can I also take this opportunity on behalf of the group to thank all of the businesses which have been looking after the planters outside of their shops - they really have made a fabulous display.

Sadly we will soon be removing the summer displays around the area and unfortunately we will not be planting winter flowers around the trees in the High Street. These planters have vine weevil in them and when we discussed how to get rid of these at our meeting people were concerned about using pesticides because of the environmental damage. We have therefore taken the decision to leave them fallow over the winter in the hope the weevils will not have anything to feed on and we can then replant again next summer. We will be planting some of the larger free standing planters so rest assured we will have some colour throughout the winter and we are also planting 5,000 crocus bulbs around the area at the end of the month which have kindly been provided by Downend and Fishponds Rotary Club.

In the near future more trees will be planted in the area. Badminton Road, at the Cleeve Park Road junction, will be having Rowan trees planted and King George V Park will have a group of new cherry trees. The In Bloom group thought the ones in King George V would be an appropriate way to commemorate the Queen's 90th birthday and Cotswold Homes, who are building the new development at Badminton Road Methodist Church, have sponsored the cost of these. We will be having an official 'opening' of the trees next spring.

We had our second AGM in early September and we were pleasantly surprised by how many people turned up as lots of people were away on holidays. We had discussions on planting for the coming year and now must ensure we raise enough to cover our planned schemes.

If people would like to find out about our group you can visit our new Facebook page. This can be found under Downend and Bromley Heath In Bloom.As a footnote - today we had a street collection in order to raise funds towards next year's flowers - can we thank the people of Downend (and sometimes further afield!) for their fantastic generosity - we raised a superb amount and this will all go to next year's planting. Just to remind everyone we are a purely voluntary group and have to raise all the funds for our displays. Without a generous donation from the parish council and from businesses, various groups and the public we would not be able to provide such wonderful displays as this year so thank you all.

Jackie Baker


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