ELSWICK IN BLOOM HISTORY
The Elswick in Bloom Committee was formed in 1995 and comprises a committee of 8 members with additional representatives from village organisations. In total we have approximately 50 volunteers who average around 30 hours each, in addition to time spent distributing newsletters and attending meetings.
THE FIRST 10 YEARS
When the village first entered the North West in Bloom competition in 1996 community involvement was minimal. Despite this, the village won the Best New Entry Award.
This was followed the year after with the 1st prize for New Landscaping. Eight long years then ensued before 2006 when the village was judged third (second runner up) in the Large Village Class. This latter award was quite remarkable considering that the gardening contractor was made bankrupt in the second week in June and the village at that late stage was left with no plants.
2007 TO 2011
In 2007 we were again placed third in the large village class and realised at the presentation ceremony that we had been competing in the wrong class over the years. The rules of the competition define a large village as having more than 1000 people on the electoral roll whereas Elswick only has 904. In 2008 we entered the correct Village class and were placed joint second, the position that we also achieved in 2009.
In 2010 the North West in Bloom Committee revised its judging criteria and aligned its awards with those of the national competition. That year Elswick received the Gold Award as well as the Clean Sweep Award. The village was also judged to be the Best Kept Village in Lancashire in the Lancashire Best Kept Village competition- after 50 years of trying.
In 2011 the village again achieved Gold in North West in Bloom and retained the Clean Sweep Award. Nominated for the first time to compete in the national finals the village also received a very creditable Silver Gilt award.
2012 TO 2015
in 2012 Elswick took a further Gold award in the North West competition and was judged the Best Village in the North West of England.
Similar success followed in 2013, 2014 and 2015 with the village receiving GOLD and being judged The Best in Bloom Village in the North West of England in each year.
In 2014 the village also received GOLD in the National Britain in Bloom Final achieving the top Gold award in all four judging categories and was nominated for discretionary wards for Wildlife Conservation and Pride of Place.
2016 - Our most successful year to date
Not only did we receive gold again for the seventh year in succession in the North West competition and were judged the Best Village in the North
West of England for the fifth successive year but we shared the title of The Best In Bloom Village in Britain with Castlecaulfied from Northern Ireland in the national
An absolutely amazing achievement considering how far we have come in the competition.
Each year the parish council holds four competitions:
The Best Front Garden
The Best Hanging Basket
There are no formal entries for the competitions as every garden is judged from the road.
THE VILLAGE IN BLOOM
For ten months of the year Elswick is a profusion of colour.
The display starts in January with snowdrops in Beech Road signalling the start of the end of winter closely followed by crocus.
In February the display starts in earnest with daffodils along the hedgerows in the village fighting it out with the polyanthus and natural primroses to see which can provide the first real flush of colour.
Then as the daffodils start to fade the tulips push up through the polyanthus and primroses.
Sadly they are short lived but as the tulips begin to look forlorn the village erupts in a mass of flowering cherries which illuminate the village through to the planting of the bedding displays at the end of May.
Throughout June, whilst the bedding plants get established, we are treated to a display of lilac and red hawthorn at the village crossroads.
Wildflower/Wildlife Meadow and Community Orchard
In 2013 the Parish Council and the Elswick in Bloom Committee were delighted that Bill Blackledge the Chairman of North West in Bloom agreed to open our new Community Orchard and Wildflower/Wildlife meadow. The project is the culmination of several years hard work and we would like to thank the following for their efforts:
The Lancashire Environmental Trust for providing most of the funding and much needed advice.
The Lancashire County Council Environmental Projects Team who provided invaluable assistance including designing the orchard, providing assistance with grant applications and introducing us to many contacts who helped to make the project possible.
The Lancashire Wildlife Trust who designed and constructed the meadow and planted the orchard.
At the turn of the 20th century Elswick used to be famous for its orchards which surrounded the village.
In designing the community orchard the Lancashire Environmental Project team undertook considerable research to identify the type of trees that would have been common in Fylde orchards a hundred years ago.
A mixture of both modern and Victorian varieties have been planted all of which are suitable for growing in this area.
There are 46 trees made up of 6 damson, 6 plum, 6pears, 16 cooking apples and 12 eating apples.
They are planted in the shape of an apple with the damson trees along the western edge of the orchard to provide shelter for the rest of the orchard from the prevailing winds.
The intention is to extend the wildflower meadow into the orchard and a start has been made on this with the seeding of wildflowers along the orchard border.
If you visit the orchard by all means help yourself to the fruit but please remember to leave plenty for others.
We have an enthusiastic group of volunteers who have formed a friends of the orchard group and who receive expert tuition from Steve Edwards the Lancashire Countryside Officer.
If you wish to join us please notify the Clerk of the Council or Paul Hayhurst on 01995 670931 or Beryl Smith on 01995 670689.
The meadow has been designed for use by neighbouring schools and to accommodate this a classroom area has been included.
We are delighted that Copp school have been using the facility for lessons and that the feedback from children is that they love the experience.
We are currently refurbishing and improving the meadow and will be reseeding it in April 2018 having obtained a Tesco Bags of Help grant to undertake the
work. We see the meadow as a work in progress and have formed a Friends of the Meadow group who this year have rebuilt the willow pods. If you wish to get involved please
contact Paul or Beryl or the Clerk to the Council.
As part of the project we are involving wildlife groups to help us to plan the meadow to attract wildlife. Already bat and bird boxes, a bumble bee nester and
bug hotels have been introduced in addition to the bee hives in the orchard. Further wildlife features are planned this year and the intention is to provide habitats for
species which are currently struggling such as bees and hedgehogs.
Review of the Past year and Calendar of Events
- Village hall bed rebuild completed - bed prepared and replanted by
- Main bee colony introduced to hive in the orchard.
- Wild bee colony discovered in orchard.
- Volunteers out two nights a week deadheading, weeding and where necessary
- Judging for North West in Bloom.
- Railings surrounding village hall and street furniture painted by volunteers.
- Judging of Elswick in Bloom Garden and Hanging Basket competitions.
- Article in 'inFocus' magazine.
- Awarded Green Flag status for Village Hall site for third year in succession.
- Judging of Sunflower competition
- Judging by National Judges.
- Tour of village by committee members and Parish Council identifying where
improvements can be made for next year.
- Meeting to discuss plans for 2017.
- Meeting with the contractor regarding the meadow..
- Pruning of damson trees - Training session for Friends of the Orchard with
Steve Edwards, Lancashire Countryside Officer.
- Site meeting for bee hives with Urban Projects team. A programme agreed to
get village groups involved.
- Attended the North West in Bloom Awards in Southport where we were awarded GOLD for the 7th year in succession and judged the Best Village in
the North West of England for the fifth successive year.
- Received the Best Kept Lancashire Medium Village Award.
- National Britain in Bloom Awards in Birmingham - Awarded Gold and Joint
Best Village in Britain. Our co-ordinator Paul Hayhurst presented with a
Community Champion Award.
- Elswick in Bloom featured on BBC regional TV.
- Articles in the Blackpool Evening Gazette and Rural Fylde Express.
- Village Open Day with Britain in Bloom exhibition. Guided tours of the bee
hives and orchards with free apples and presentation of Best Garden, Best .
Hanging Basket and Sunflower competition awards and prizes.
- Work starts on new meadow project.
- Summer bedding cleared and beds prepared for spring/summer planting.
- Elswickian newsletter issued.
- Article in 'inFocus' magazine.
- Radio Lancashire Elswick in Bloom three hour outside broadcast from the village.
- Planting of winter bedding at entrances to the village, including 600 natural
primroses and 500 hundred tulips.
- A further 1000 bluebell bulbs planted in the Avenue of Trees by volunteers and
.. 2000 crocus bulbs in the orchard
- Further planning meeting for 2017.
- Article in 'inFocus' magazine.
- Village collection of Christmas Trees for sand dune conservation project.
- Newspaper article in Blackpool Evening Gazette
- Two further planning meetings before finalising plans for 2016.
- Bedding and other plant orders placed order with local nursery.
- Elswick in Bloom volunteers pitted against Lytham in Bloom in Knock out quiz
on Radio Lancashire.
- Elswick in Bloom again featured in 3 hour Britain in
- Pruning of apple trees - Training session and talk for Friends of the Orchard
with Steve Edwards, Lancashire Countryside Officer.
- Research undertaken regarding Wildflower meadow.
- Planning meeting for bus shelter mural.
- Planning for Fund raising concert with Liaison with Copp School.
- WI Gardening Club member's weed and cutback Village Hall bed.
- Tenders accepted for summer planting.
- Further pruning visit by Steve Edwards.
- Seeds ordered for annual wildflower area.
- Carpet bedding planned.
- Grant received from Lancashire County Councillor.
- Willow pods in the meadow rebuilt by volunteers.
- Urban organics provide talk and tour of the bee hives for Brownies and
- Brownies and Guides make wildflower seed bombs and launch Elswick in
- Fund raising concert held by Elswick singers and Copp school choir in aid of Elswick in Bloom
- Elswick in Bloom presentation given to the Annual Parish Assembly by Beryl
- Village litter pick held.
- Annual wildflower seeds sown in area surrounding the orchard.
- New fence erected between football pitch and orchard.
- Public meeting held in the village hall with over 35 residents. New volunteers
- Village beds prepared for planting.
- Natural primroses replanted in the Avenue of Trees by volunteers.
- Tulip bulbs stored for replanting.
- Volunteers meet two nights per week for weeding, planting and painting.
- Work begins on designing and preparing the bus shelter mural.
- Beds planted out throughout the village.
- Street furniture renovated and painted by volunteers.
- Carpet bedding planted by volunteers.
- Boot and Shoe display planted by volunteers.
- Troughs and tubs planted out by volunteers.
- More hives and bee colonies introduced to the orchard.
- Children throughout the village working on the Mural
- Bus shelter planting completed by volunteers.
- Railings surrounding village hall bed painted by volunteers.
- Preparation of meadow completed ready for seeding.
- Bug Hotel constructed in the meadow
- Bus shelter mural unveiled.
Future Diary Dates
- 24th July North West in Bloom judging.
- 2nd August Champion of Champions judging
- W/c 7th August Best Garden / Hanging Basket judging
- Apple Day to be announced.
The Committee and
volunteers never really have a break. At the end of the each flowering season
(i.e. spring or autumn) the Committee meets to plan and prepare for the same
season the following year.
Whilst most of the practical work takes place during
the summer months the bulk of the planning takes place during the winter. Some
beds are planted out all year and for these there is little rest. Manure is dug
into these beds in early autumn and allowed to rot through to February/March
when spring bedding is planted.
Whilst this planting may seem late we have found
with experience that this gives the best results as in past years bedding
planted earlier has died, due to the proximity of the beds to the road and road
salt and gritting.
The following are some examples of floral displays.