The judging of Milford for the East Midlands in Bloom (EMiB) competition, entered by Blooming Milford earlier in the year, took place on Monday 12th July 11.30 – 12.30. This was preceded by a frenetic 3 week effort by Blooming Milford, Milford Community GreenSpace, Belper Town Council, Amber Valley Borough Council and all the residents along the route to get the village ready for judging. Although the result of the judging won’t be known until September, many of you will no doubt have noticed the improvement in tidiness in the village and the beautiful flower displays throughout. Whatever the result, the undoubted pleasure this is bringing the residents is worth the effort, and Blooming Milford would like to say a huge thank you to all those in the organisations described above and all the private residents for all their hard work.
A more detailed description of the work involved in the preparations leading to the EMiB judging now follows. First all the residents along the judging route were alerted by Blooming Milford with the slip shown below.
A tour of the EMiB judging route was undertaken by Blooming Milford and the work required to bring it up to the standard expected by the EMiB listed. Meetings were held between Blooming Milford, Belper Town Council, Amber Valley Council and Belper mayor and Milford councillor John Porter and the list of work required divided up between them. There now follows a description of the route and the work undertaken, with “before and after” photos.
The start of the judging route was Milford Social Club. As usual, club manager Geoff has put up a super display of baskets and mangers and also cleared the kerbs around the club (photo below). Geoff opened up the club in the morning especially for the judge to use the facilities on judging day (Monday 12th July).
After the Social Club, the next port of call on the route was The Triangle community garden. The first pre-EMiB judging work party, on 22nd June 2021, was organised by Blooming Milford to tidy up The Triangle, see below. Weeds were removed from the beds and between the paving stones, bulbs cut back, bushes trimmed and bedding planted.
At the same time Chevin Alley was cleared of weeds, leaving just wild flowers such foxgloves, valerian and corydalis. Although not directly on the route, it was highly visible from the route from top and bottom.
Chevin Alley after weeding
Moving on, the route then went down Chevin Road to the A6 and turned left, to take in the pretty Belper Town Council bedding at the bottom of The Triangle (see below). Blooming Milford work parties cleared the kerb and base of the wall.
The next section, carrying along the A6 at the bottom of the Pattern House and past the mill entrance, was in a particularly bad state, with masses of weeds and soil at the bottom of the wall, by the kerb, and between paving stones. It took two Blooming Milford work parties to clear the area in front of the Pattern House and Belper Town Council to clear the mill entrance. Belper Town Council also hung a hanging basket on The Pattern House. The area after this effort is much improved, as shown in the pictures below.
The route continued along the A6, passing the lovely displays of flowers on the row of houses from The William to the phone box, crossing at the pelican crossing and then passing Belper Town Council’s hanging baskets in front of the Children’s Play Area.
Two Blooming Milford work parties were required to clear around the phone box of brambles and overhanging branches, clean the phone box windows and remove large amounts of soil that had accumulated on the pavement between the phone box and the entrance to the Children’s Play Area. Amber Valley Borough Council also brought their mechanical path cleaner along the area to give it a final polish.
Beyond the Children’s Play Area on the A6 and before the allotments on Hopping Hill the route passes a parcel of land that had become severely overgrown with brambles and nettles and was a real eyesore. Local contractor JC Balls were contacted and lent Blooming Milford a brush cutter and then armed with this, loppers and shears, a work party of 8 people worked solidly for 2 hours to completely clear the brambles and pile them in a heap at the quarry face at the back. The area in front of the boundary wall was cleared too, and found to be soil rather than tarmac, so this was filled with perennials to create a small flower bed. The result was a great improvement, as seen in the photos below.
The route then goes up Hopping Hill and through the churchyard onto Church Steps. This route was chosen because the churchyard has adopted a less frequent mowing regime and so is very pretty, full of birds foot trefoil and clover at present. The boundary of the church wall and the Hopping Hill pavement was very weedy though and visible from the route, so the next Blooming Milford work party cleared this, Church Steps and between the cobbles on West Terrace, the next part of the route. The gardens on West Terrace were all lovely and there is, of course, a panoramic view over Milford from here to impress the judge.
The route then returns down Church Steps, stopping at The Milford Community GreenSpace. Three weeks before the judging the area had become rather weedy, but after a massive effort involving 5 separate work parties by the GreenSpace volunteers, by the time the judge came round the area had been completely cleared of weeds and was in an excellent state, with the raised vegetable plots and courgette and pumpkin patch looking very healthy. Pictures from the GreenSpace work parties are shown below.
Once at the bottom of Church Steps the route returns down Hopping Hill then passes through the War Memorial. The pavements and kerbs here were cleared by Belper Town Council, allowing the eye to concentrate on their planters rather than the weeds. These are looking especially colourful this year, as seen in the photo below.
After scuttling across the A6, the route carries on north for 50 yards before going through the gap in the wall into Hopping Mill Meadow, and takes in the Spring Garden and Blooming Milford community herb planters. A Blooming Milford work party was organised to tidy this area too, bringing the total number of Blooming Milford work parties organised in the three weeks before judging to 8.
The route then carries on along the riverside path. A yard on either side of the path is mown short by Amber Valley Borough Council, but the rest is only cut once a year, and was full of ox-eye daisies, knapweed, purple vetch and meadow cranesbill and the effect of the wild flower meadow fronted by the strip of mown grass was very impressive. The route passes three of the four recently planted community orchards. These were strimmed regularly by Blooming Milford, as shown below, to give the saplings a chance. Four new signs showing the layout of the fruit trees in the 4 sections of the orchard were installed by Blooming Milford a couple of days before the judging.
The route then climbs the ramp up onto Millers Way and turns left until turning right just before the first block of flats. The front gardens all along here were particularly beautiful, as seen in the pictures below.
Finally the route retraces its steps along Millers Way for a few yards before turning into the road leading to the Millers Way Community garden, photo below, which was looking its usual colourful and interesting self. Here the route ends.
Judging by EMiB took place on Monday 12th July 11.30 – 12.30. The judge was accompanied by David Moreton of Blooming Milford for the route apart from the Milford Community GreenSpace, where she was accompanied by Jen Butters of the Milford Community GreenSpace group. She seemed suitably impressed and took many photos. Fingers crossed for September, when the winners are announced!