Sudbury horticulture enthusiasts to follow Bury’s In Bloom example

Sudbury in Bloom previously received the Gold award in the competition

Sudbury in Bloom previously received the Gold award in the competition - Credit: Archant

Green fingered Sudbury residents are being urged to dig out their trowels and help beautify their town in time for an Anglia in Bloom comeback next summer.

Last year, the Sudbury in Bloom committee abandoned its annual bid for gold in the challenge after Babergh District Council decided it was a “waste of money” to spend around £3,000 on summer planting in the award winning Belle Vue Park.

With the flowerbeds left bare, committee chairman Nick Irwin said the park looked like a “barren wasteland” which would have been an embarrassment to show the judges.

But at a public meeting last week attended by Babergh’s corporate manager for public realm Peter Garrett, and the council’s parks contractor, Sudbury town clerk Jacqui Howells said there was “renewed enthusiasm” for the challenge, which would need to be a “community effort”.

She said: “We have found that a lot of people are already tending to small plots around the town and we could incorporate these in our submission and on the judging route next year. It has to be a town-wide effort which needs to be perpetuated all year round.

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“Until now, there has been no management plan for Belle Vue Park and that is going to change. It does seem wrong to put in bedding plants at a cost of thousands when they are just dug up at the end of the season and discarded, so we are looking at more sustainable alternatives like ‘edible beds’ where we can plant vegetables and herbs, and drought resistant flowering plants which are perennial.”

By contrast in 2014-15, St Edmundsbury Borough Council was happy to invest £20,378 in plants for floral displays in Bury and Haverhill – £12,300 of which was spent on spring and summer bedding in the Abbey Gardens. Melanie Lesser, co-ordinator of Bury in Bloom, which celebrates its 30th anniversary next year, said the investment helped net the historic site ‘best local authority floral display’ in this year’s awards.

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She said: “I think people expect to see bursts of colour when they enter the Abbey Gardens but it isn’t just about bedding plants. At an Anglia in Bloom seminar last week, the officials said they were “blown away” by some of the bigger beds where the council’s horticultural officer Rebecca Davis has managed to introduce more insect friendly plants.

“It really is a team effort though. The BID group and the town council pay for the hanging baskets around the town and we also have an Abbey Gardens Friends group of volunteers who help to maintain the displays.”

Joanna Rayner, St Edmundsbury’s cabinet member for parks and open spaces said she was proud the council played a major part in the town’s success by investing in attractions like Moyse’s Hall and the “fabulous Abbey Gardens”. She added: “These are huge attractions for visitors and local people alike which all help to boost the local economy and jobs as people spend their money throughout the town.”

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