Blooming Milford Update July 2023

As a reminder, Blooming Milford is a volunteer group of residents who strive to make Milford a better place through gardening related activities – for details, see their website here.  Many of the flower displays that you see as you travel through the village were created and are maintained by them and they co-ordinate their efforts closely with Belper Town and Amber Valley Borough councils. They also co-ordinate Milford’s submission into the East Midlands in Bloom (EMIB) competition. For more detail of the efforts involved this year for EMIB, see the report here.

Apart from preparing for EMIB, Blooming Milford has been busy since our last report in October. In that report we detailed how we had created a new Autumn Garden by the weir on the riverside path in Hopping Mill Meadow.

Autumn Garden October 2022

Blooming Milford has weeded the plot many times since then, but unfortunately although the original plants were perennial and we hoped would last, sadly, over a very dry 8 months, two of the acers, the coreopsis, the erica and the echinaceas all perished. So, an additional 18 plants were bought in June (asters, heleniums, salvias and a large acer) to fill in the gaps, using Blooming Milford funds, as can be seen below.

Autumn Garden July 2023

In addition to the Autumn Garden, Blooming Milford looks after two more Community Gardens, The Triangle on the junction of Chevin Road and the A6 and The Spring Garden at the south end of the riverside path in Hopping Mill Meadow. Upkeep of these community gardens is one of Blooming Milford’s main tasks; for example, the Spring Garden and The Triangle were tidied in 6 separate work parties each over the past year. We added mulch, provided by Milford tree surgeon Mark Hudson, to the Spring Garden.

Tidying The Triangle April 2023

Mulching of Spring Garden November 2022

 We are very pleased by how the Spring Garden has developed; after the original planting in 2020 we have added more bulbs (tete-a-tetes, aconites, dog tooth violets) every year. Pictures of the Spring Garden March – April are shown below.

Spring Garden March 2023

Spring Garden April 2023

We have been very keen to supply the village with fruit and herbs through the creation of community herb planters (we have 4 over the village) and the 41 community fruit trees we have planted over the years. These now provide parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, rhubarb, fennel, apples, pears, plums, damsons, mulberries and quinces free for residents to pick and use. Every year these plants are fed, the larger trees pruned, organic codling moth traps laid for the apples, grass strimmed from round the smaller trees and the herb planters continuously replenished (this year, for example, with 8 new plants from Blooming Milford funds.) In February we also had an unwanted apple tree donated, which we planted in our community orchard by the weir in Hopping Mill Meadow, bringing the total to 42.

Community fruit tree no. 42

Blooming Milford has planted literally thousands of bulbs around the village over the past 13 years, mainly from its own funds.  One of our best displays is on the Strutt Arms verge where 3500 bulbs were planted in 2008. We were worried that the display would be ruined due to emergency fixing of a sewer main by Severn-Trent Water in December 2021, where they dug up 1/5 of the verge. We complained to Severn-Trent and they gave us £250 in compensation. We used this to buy replacement bulbs and plant them in one of our gardens, then once sprouted in February 2023, planted them in the space created by Severn Trent (picture below). Thankfully this was highly effective – there is no gap visible in the picture below.

Daffodils being planted in the Severn Trent gap of Strutt Arms bulb display, February 2023

Gap filled, April 2023

Every year we plant more; this year we planted tete a tete daffodils and bluebells by the riverside path in Hopping Mill Meadow and aconites and dog tooth violets in the Spring Garden in Hopping Mill Meadow. We also planted Tete-a-tetes outside The Makeney Hall hotel, with their agreement.

Tete-a-tetes being planted at entrance of Makeney Hall Hotel, February 2023

We now have 3 large cubic metre perennial (therefore sustainable) planters throughout the village: one at the southbound Strutt Arms bus stop; one at the south end of Little Fallows and one by the Children’s Play Area pelican crossing on the A6.  Belper Town Council waters these, but we feed, mulch, prune and replace dead plants (14 new plants this year) and this year we added a fourth planter. An old wood one in Fullers Close in Hopping Mill Meadow was in a state of decay and was replaced by the estate management company. We filled it with plants supplied by Blooming Milford in May.

Old dilapidated planter in Fullers Close

New Fullers Close planter being planted up, May 2023

New Fullers Close planter in flower, June 2023

Restocked Little Fallows planter June 2023

Fund raising is an important part of Blooming Milford’s activities, and this year we excelled ourselves. We had more plants for sale than ever before, with plants grown, split and grown on from our own gardens, with sales at the National Garden Scheme open gardens at David Moreton’s house in March 2023, at the annual May Fair at the primary school and at Belper Town Council’s plant market the next day. We also sold 42 1lb jars of homemade Seville orange marmalade in January. In total, these sales brought in over £800, a record.

Lorry bringing plants down to school May Fair sale

Blooming Milford plant sale at May Fair

Blooming Milford plant sale at Belper Plant Market May 2023

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