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.
We finally found out how Milford had done in the 2023 competition in the EMIB award ceremony, on Wednesday 20th September in Spalding, Lincolnshire. There was very good news – the whole village got a Gold award (86/100), same as 2021 and better than the Silver Gilt award of 2022. Special praise was given to The Greenspace, the riverside path in Hopping Mill Meadow and the gardens of Millers Way, and Kate Tuck, Chair of the Greenspace, got a Judges Award for her vision and hard work in making The Greenspace happen. Meanwhile, in all three of the individual categories entered (best commercial premises (Milford Social Club); best front garden (The Old Bike Shop on the A6) and best pub (The Holly Bush)) Gold awards were given too – so a clean sweep for Milford! It should also be mentioned that Belper got a Gold award too, and without the help of Belper Town Council neither Milford nor Belper would have got their awards.
Apart from preparing for EMIB, Blooming Milford has been busy since our last report in July. In that report we detailed how we had replanted some of the plants in our Autumn Garden (originally created in summer 2022) by the weir on the riverside path in Hopping Mill Meadow. This has certainly paid off, with a lovely display by mid-August and still loads of colour by mid October, as the pictures below show.
We have had 3 work parties since July weeding and dead heading the Autumn Garden, but our job was made easier by the fact the plants have bushed out so well, smothering the weeds.
Mercifully, unlike other parts of the river bank, the Autumn Garden just escaped the terrible floods of 21st October 2023.
Our community orchards along the river in Hopping Mill Meadow weren’t so lucky. The one furthest north, opposite the flats, was completely submerged, but thankfully there was no lasting damage once the waters receded.
The other community orchards on the riverside escaped flooding – although for the one below the Little Fallows car park it was a close shave, the sign in front of it was washed away and retrieved later, broken. We will get a replacement sign – at least the trees were fine.
In common with many apple trees locally, following the record breaking heat of June, many of the apples on the community apple trees shriveled up and dropped, but the plums and damsons did very well. This Victoria plum on our Spring Garden did rather too well – a large bough broke under the sheer weight of the fruit.
Moving on to our biggest Community Garden in the village, The Triangle at the junction of Chevin Road and the A6. We had two big work parties in August chopping back the bushes (especially dogwood) that had grown like mad in the cool and damp July & August. We were helped by visiting French student Thibault.
Our biggest project this year though, coincidentally also on The Triangle, has been our recent planting of 2200 bulbs in the flower bed at the front by the A6, which should hopefully give colour all year round. This was an effort involving the whole community and is described in much more detail in a separate report, here.
Finally, Blooming Milford is planning to resurrect the former Milford Horticultural Show, now Milford & Makeney Flower & Produce Show, in September 2024. Please see the web page here for more details, and get planting and growing ready to compete!