In-bloom judges don’t give a lot away. They look and listen attentively, take photographs and notes, nod sagely, make polite conversation and then disappear to consider a town’s fate.
But when you are a double gold award winner, and aiming for the hat-trick, you can’t help but feel optimistic when, at the end of the tour, a judge says: “We are impressed”. And then goes on to say how seeing changes over the past three or four years has been “a real pleasure”.
Could it be gold for Boston again this year? We will find out in September when, for the first time, Boston hosts the East Midlands in Bloom awards at the Stump.
For now judges Richard Stephen and Helen Mitchem have praised the work undertaken by volunteers and partnership agencies.
The two judges toured Boston yesterday (Tuesday, July 11) to assess the efforts made as part of this year’s in-bloom campaign. They were shown a variety of initiatives, ranging from conservation and biodiversity, such as bee and pollinating insect-friendly plants in Witham Way Country Park and the urban meadow near The Haven Bridge, heritage, such as the nod to Boston’s historic trade in sheep recognised by the silhouettes on Bargate roundabout and community participation at sites all over town.
In Central Park they were shown the new art deco-style garden, with its metal lattice arches, which was completed only last week.
In the Stump grounds they met Boston Police Cadets who have designed and planted a new knot garden and Boston College students who have constructed bird boxes, some mirroring iconic buildings, such as the Stump.
Other sites visited included Boston Cemetery, Central Park, Memorial Gardens, Pescod Square, Strait Bargate, Pilgrims’ Patch, Beadsmans Lane and Fydell House and gardens. Along the way they met Friends of Witham Way Country Park, Boston and South Holland Wood Carvers, community gardening groups, Community Payback and Boston Big Local representatives, council parks and grounds staff, church volunteers, Witham Central and Carlton Road Neighbourhood Action Group, Thistles Nursery for adults with learning difficulties, HMP North Sea Camp workers, Boston Greenscapers, Community Payback, Fydell House volunteer gardeners and in-bloom volunteers.
The importance of all these, and more, was stressed to the judges by Cllr Claire Rylott, Boston Borough Council’s Cabinet member for grounds and open spaces, and judge Helen described gardeners as “sharing caring and looking after the environment”.
Welcoming the judges to Boston, Cllr Rylott said it was really important for us to receive honest, impartial feedback so that we can continue to improve and the judges’ comments each year form part of the basis for our campaign for the following year.
She thanked all who had been involved in this year’s campaign and said it was amazing to note that there were more than 250 hanging and barrier baskets in the town.
Alison Fairman, chairman of Boston in Bloom, presented all that had been accomplished, saying this was a year-round effort, citing planting bulbs in a snow storm, and the community involvement had strengthened from year to year and this year had been “outstanding”.
She thanked the many sponsors who had made some of the projects possible.
Boston Mayor, Cllr Bernard Rush, thanked the judges for coming and said he had a real sense that Boston was on the way up. He said: “I have heard nothing but good news about this town.”
He said the efforts of all had been “incredible”. He added: “Working together brings nothing but results. Aspiration and inspiration is working for Boston.”