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The debrief meeting on 30 November to celebrate our success in the 2009 Britain in Bloom competition was very well supported - my thanks to all those who attended, to Roger Emery for organising, and especially to the 2009 Bloom Team who put in so much hard work to make it all happen. The notes from the meeting are below - briefly, the main outcomes relating to 2010 were:
- We are not nominated for the National competition, but there was strong support to enter the Regional competition
- A general feeling that we should 'be ourselves', celebrate what we do rather than trying to adapt to BiB criteria
- Leadership from the Parish Council, an early start to give us more time
- Keep the workload on individuals to a reasonable level

The Parish Council reviewed the proposals at its meeting on 19 November. Our feeling is that we should concentrate on celebrating the things we already do rather than trying to set up new projects. Of course, we may identify areas where we want to do better or differently, but our criterion should be benefit to the community rather than just winning the competition.
In terms of organisation, our success in 2009 was due to the efforts of very many people, but we do need a few champions to act as a spearhead. We see the role of the Parish Council to encourage, support and make resources available. In terms of day-to-day actions (such as maintenance, contacts with SODC, OCC), our Clerk Robin Parsley remains the contact, however the Council as a whole stands ready to provide guidance and assistance. Our vision is that we have one champion for each 'pillar' (horticulture, community, environment, sustainability - the last two could be combined) who would be familiar with what is going on in the Parish, encourage developments and ensure the achievements are celebrated in our BiB submission. One of these champions should be the primary liaison with the Parish Council and come along to PC meetings to involve the whole Council in developments.

For the time being, I will be the primary contact on the Parish Council - so please direct any comments, and particularly offers to be a 'champion' to me.
David Rickeard - Parish Council Chairman

Click here to view the Debrief Meeting Notes


"A tremendous achievement!" was the conclusion of the Bloom team members returning from the RHS National Britain in Bloom Awards Ceremony held in Torbay on 23rd September. The village had been short-listed along with eight others in the category of Best Large Village. The standards were high and the competition very tough. Many of those short-listed for the national finals had been competing for years at this level and investing considerable time and money into their campaigns.

Roger Emery, East Hagbourne Parish Councillor, who attended the Ceremony, hosted by Gardeners' World presenter, Toby Buckland, said: "The judges commented that it was little short of a miracle that we achieved so much in so little time. Following Monica's death, we had to put together a team to take the campaign forward and it only really started in earnest in March. This gave us just six months until the judging in August.

The judges scored the village in three main categories:

Horticultural achievement: We scored well on the standard of residential gardens as well as the allotments, cemetery and churchyard. The new floral features at the entry points to the village were thought "splendid" with the one near the cemetery being described as "dramatic and entirely in keeping with our 'Some like it Hot' theme."

Environmental Responsibility: The judges were particularly impressed with the Wild Flower Meadow and the way in which it was being managed. Other areas which scored highly included the school's eco track record, the annual litter blitz, the village's recycling programme and use of peat free compost in planting schemes.

Community Participation: Monica's outstanding contribution to the Britain in Bloom in previous years was mentioned at the Awards ceremony, as was the way that the newly formed committee and the village as a whole took this work forward. The continuing success of the village shop was cited as "a good example of local people working in partnership for the benefit of the community".

In summary, the judges emphasised the very high standards expected at a national level in all three categories, with the conclusion that, "The community has set a good foundation for future development of the Bloom campaign in East Hagbourne"

Roger added; "Seeing the standard of entries from other villages, it was clear to us just what an amazing achievement it was to be awarded Silver. I would like to extend a huge thank you to the Bloom Team and everyone who contributed in so many ways to the Bloom campaign. Monica would have been proud of the way in which everyone pulled together to show East Hagbourne at its very best. We will now go away and review the judges' feedback in more detail and decide how best to take the Bloom campaign forward."

Some 'hot, hot, hot' ideas for plants in August:

  *Heleniums *Dahlias *Rudbeckias *Nastertiums *Sunflowers *Cannas *Geraniums

Judging Route Map is OUT!
The national RHS judges are due to insprect East Hagbourne during the first two weeks of August and with the kind help of village artist, Linda Benton, our new "judging route" map is now out. Click here for more information.

Please come along and continue to support all of the many village activities this Spring and Summer such as the Fun Run, the Scarecrow Trail the East Hagbourne Open Gardens, the Hagbourne School Fun Day, the Church Fete, the Duck Race and the Produce Show - amongst others! We hope to see you there!

If you would like to join the 'Bloom Team' then please get in touch, your help would be most welcome!
Thank you for your support.
The Bloom Team

Sub-Section 1:  Press Releases
Sub-Section 2:  RHS Judging Criteria
Sub-Section 3:  Events Calendar
Sub-Section 4:  East Hagbourne Open Gardens
Sub-Section 5:  Route Map
Sub-Section 6:  Local Business Support
Sub-Section 7:  Hagbourne Gardening Club
Sub-Section 8:  Gardening Tips
Sub-Section 9:  Bloom Team Contacts
Sub-Section 10: Photo Gallery

Sub-Section 1: Press Releases

Latest Update … What have the Bloom Team Been Doing?

Working with Hagbourne Pre-School we've launched the campaign in the Oxford mail and the Didcot herald. We've put up posters to tell the community about the campaign and every resident in the village has received a Bloom information 'flyer'.

What Can You Do?

Please come along and continue to support all of the many village activities this Spring and Summer such as the Fun Run, the Scarecrow Trail the East Hagbourne Open Gardens, the Hagbourne School Fun Day, the Village Fete, the Duck Race and the Produce Show - amongst others! We hope to see you there!

Congratulations also to the school which so impressed the judges that it was awarded the special "Mark Mattock Challenge Cup", which Mr Mattock came, in person, to present to the School Assembly on 22nd September. A fantastic achievement!

You can also help East Hagbourne to stay blooming by keeping your front gardens looking so great. We'll be publicising the judging route nearer the time, so you'll know if your house features on it. But the judges will admire other parts of the village too, so we need it all looking fantastic!

Thank you for your support.
The Bloom Team


Sub-Section 2: RHS Judging Criteria

For information RHS Britain in Bloom please see the following links
Judging guidelines
Marking sheet
Finalists information


Sub-Section 3: Events Calendar

23 May - 7 June East Hagbourne Annual Scarecrow Trail - maps available from village post office
7 June 2-6pm: East Hagbourne Open Gardens - come and enjoy six wonderful gardens in the village with refreshments available at both Fletchers and Kingsholm (see "Open Gardens" section of website). 'Musical' Scarecrows will still be up too so should be a lovely day out for all the family.
13 June St Andrew's Church Fete
27 June Hagbourne School Family Fun Day


Sub-Section 4: East Hagbourne Open Gardens


East Hagbourne is opening its gardens to the public on Sunday 7 June between 2 and 6pm under the National Gardens Scheme. The village is the only one in the Thames Valley to compete with just nine other villages nationwide to win the category of "Best Large Village".

On the open day, visitors will be able to explore six very different gardens including the village allotments and an award-winning wildflower meadow.

An added attraction will be the village's Annual Scarecrow Trail Competition which will be in full swing. Some 20 scarecrows will be on display throughout the village. This year's competition theme is "Musicals" and visitors can expect to meet a range of characters including the Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins and Joseph to name a few! Maps of the scarecrow trail are available from the Village Shop and all proceeds go towards the Friends of St Anne's Hospital in Liulu, Tanzania.

Teas and cakes will be available at Fletchers and Kingsholm gardens.

Gardens open include:
- Fletchers - new planting within an old framework Several garden "rooms" including formal area, vegetable garden, stream and orchard
- The Gables - classic English garden with herbaceous beds set out in colour groupings
- 5 Higgs Glose - Colourful, part walled garden with a range of beds and vegetable patch
- Kingsholm - ¾ acre garden with topiary in box and yew. Herbaceous and shrub borders, rockery, water garden
- Manor Farm - two acre garden with mixed borders, vegetable plot and fruit trees
- Tudor House Allotments - focal point of the village alongside a thatched barn Seasonal fruit and vegetables as well as iris, roses and dahlias


Sub-Section 5: Route Map

The national RHS judges are due to inspect East Hagbourne during the first two weeks of August and with the kind help of village artist, Linda Benton, our new "judging route" map is now out. If your house is on the route, we would be very grateful if you could make sure your front gardens continue to look lovely. If you're not on the map, the judges probably won't walk past your house. But, they will travel through the village and for our best chances of winning gold, the whole village needs to look beautiful and neat and tidy. More detailed advice to follow! And judging dates when we have them.

Thank you to all the local businesses who have sponsored our map. See Sub-Section 6: Local Business Support (below) for a list of sponsors

Our new "judging route" map is now out. Click here for more information.


Sub-Section 6: Local Business Support

The Bloom Team would like to thank East Hagbourne Parish Council for their helpful advice and financial support throughout our 'Bloom' Campaign.

In addition, we have been overwhelmed by the generosity of our local business community who have kindly helped us raise enough funds to produce the route map, communications material and of course, the lovely plants that the village is now benefitting from. Thank you.

Local Business Support:
- Linda Benton
- Wear's Nursery - www.wearsnursery.co.uk
- Savages (Blewbury) Ltd
- Kay Hardie from The Tax Team
- Professional Garden Services
- East Hagbourne Community Shop
- French Beanies
- Barn End Events
- Swallows Framing
- S.K. Passey, Hagbourne Garage
- The Fleur de Lys
- All Year Round Landscaping
- Charlotte Warrington, Garden Care & Maintenance
- Charlie Laing Project Management - www.charlielaing.com


Sub-Section 7: Hagbourne Gardening Club

The Hagbourne Gardening Club meets at least once a month. Below is the list of events over the coming months. All levels of gardener are welcome! For further information please contact Malcolm Brownswood on 01235 850668.

Thursday 21 May (one week earlier in the month than we would normally meet)
Two gardens together:
Pyt House, Ashampstead
4-acres planted over the last 5yrs. Mature trees, yew, hornbeam and beech hedges, pleached limes, modern perennial borders, orchard and vegetable garden.
Willow Tree Cottage, Ashampstead
Small pretty garden of the cottage originally build for the gardener at Pyt House. Substantially redesigned and replanted over last 5 yrs. Perennial borders, vegetable garden, pond with ducks and chickens.
Thursday 25 June
Sandleford Place, Newtown
4-acre grounds, more exuberant than manicured, around a former old mill and granary. Many varied shrub and herbaceous borders crammed with plants for romantic, naturalistic effect. Walled garden with a wide range of plants arranged for year-round interest, flowers, foliage and scent. Kitchen garden and herb bed. Long herbaceous border, wild flowers in meadow and along R. Enborne. Unusual plants for sale, some seen in the garden.
Thursday 23 July
Two gardens together:
Baggage Chute, Ashampstead Com