Jul 19

Diary of a Bloomer July 08 – Birmingham Post Article

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A wet Wednesday in July, more Moseley in Gloom than Moseley in Bloom as we waited, umbrellas at the ready, for the arrival of the judges from the Heart of England in Bloom.We had experienced a week of frenzied activity to maximise Moseley’s chances: Chair, Natalie Higgins had organised rotas of volunteers to litter pick, weed pavements, corners and crevices, re-gravel tree grilles, dead head floral displays and give the Village Green its annual mulch and a feed of turkey manure. Moseley Round Table turned out to spruce up the Dovecote gardens, a team from the Riverside Church painted the fence in the car park a fetching shade of forest green and Jenny Brewer replaced geraniums stolen from our baskets and window boxes. Councillor Martin Mullaney ensured that the City Council delivered all the services required for a complete municipal makeover; graffiti was removed (again!) street name signs and cable boxes were re-painted, basal growth was trimmed from trees, mechanical sweepers patrolled the streets, pavements were jet blasted and Centro scrubbed the bus shelters. It was a symphony of civic teamwork.

There were some last minute dramas: a litter bin was wrenched off its fixing on the High Street and the flower tower – a 3 tier flower planter, was pushed over by some mindless Friday night drunks and had to be rebuilt, replanted and resuscitated. An unknown artist painted the word “Cocaine” in huge letters on a development site on the main road which was speedily painted over by volunteer Steve Jolly. A delivery lorry totally smashed a floral container outside the Kababish Restaurant. This was yet another case for the Laburnum Grove Residents Action Group who had created not only this display but others for two more restaurants, the Police Station and Lloyds TSB. They couldn’t find a replacement container to match and as it was bolted to the ground they had to piece it back together like a jigsaw, glue it and replant it the next day. I meanwhile was welded to my computer, completing the Portfolio, an illustrated account of our year round activities, to hand to the Judges on their arrival.

Despite the rain Moseley looked fantastic. The pavements were pristine and the flowers abundant. The judges walked the 2½ hour route from one end of the Village to the other resplendent in waterproofs, wellies and matching Moseley in Bloom umbrellas. On the way they were introduced to some of the people who have helped us make Moseley in Bloom so successful and giving little away, they made notes on their marking sheets. There was a coffee stop with presentations and an exhibition of floral art and organic ceramics by Queensbridge secondary school. King David’s School with its gardening club and the display outside St John’s and St Monica’s made a positive impact – and schools involvement was one of the areas we were given a ‘could do better’ two years ago.

There was one amusing but excruciating incident when the tallest judge spotted a discarded coke can in a hanging basket by the bus stop and handed it to Natalie, doubtless for recycling. They seemed impressed with the progress we have made over the last few years and were particularly interested in the Dovecote, Moseley Park and the transformation at the Police Station. They also commented favourably on the tree planting programme and the new business recycling scheme.

Having overrun the schedule somewhat we adjourned for an informal lunch at the Fighting Cocks. This was an opportunity for us to get advice on what we need to do for the National Britain in Bloom judges who are making their first visit on August 5th. Apart from making sure there is absolutely no graffiti or fly posting, and keeping to our allotted time, our main dilemma, we were told, will be how we fit everything in – and they are kindly going to give us some more feedback to help us do just that. Their parting comment was “don’t forget, you are not just representing Moseley, or even Birmingham, but the whole of the Region” – no pressure then…


Stephanie Silk