Stonehouse in Bloom have been awarded gold and won the Best Small Town category in the RHS Heart of England in Bloom Awards 2023.
SIB volunteers Lin Powell and Janet Chambers received the award on behalf of the group at a ceremony in Sutton Coldfield Town Hall.
Chair of Stonehouse in Bloom Pam Swain said: “The ongoing support of Stonehouse Town Council and the countless community groups, businesses, grant providers, and residents who have assisted us is greatly appreciated. We are particularly grateful to those who volunteer their time to help us maintain the appearance of the displays by watering and picking up litter.
“Thank you for helping us maintain the displays and keeping them in top condition. You all should be incredibly proud, as this award belongs to you.
We want to extend our congratulations to everyone involved in making this happen!”
RHS Judge Mark Wiltshire visited Stonehouse on a rainy July 4 and toured the town during the morning to see SIB projects and meet community groups and volunteers.
“This year, we featured the wonderful work of Cotswold Canals Connected and our judge was very interested to hear all about the canal project from the Vice Chair of the Cotswold Canals Trust, John Newton,” said Pam.
“We were also keen to share our own new projects for 2023: our new Community Garden at Stonehouse Station and the garden we have created on the bank at the entrance to the station from Queens Road.”
Stonehouse in Bloom is a volunteer-led group, supported by Stonehouse Town Council and numerous community organisations and town businesses, which have contributed financially and in kind. This year, employees from Sartorius, spent a day working on the new dry bed and community garden and will be spending another day planting bulbs in the coming weeks. Stonehouse in Bloom has also worked closely with Stonehouse Court Hotel, who have funded and planted up a new dry garden outside the Premier convenience store in the High Street, which will be cared for by SIB volunteers. The drought-resistant and drought-tolerant plants have been specifically chosen to demonstrate how gardening is evolving in response to climate change.
The strength of community spirit has been central to Stonehouse’s success in ‘In Bloom’.
RHS Judge Mark Wiltshire stated in his marking feedback: “Throughout the tour, it was evident that a great amount of time and care had gone into planning the spotlessly clean route. The visit to the canal to meet the members of The Cotswold Canal trust was a particular delight, who alone boast one thousand volunteers!! Somehow more volunteers have joined the team and an increase in working partnerships is very impressive, to complement the existing ones. Stonehouse Station stands out, in particular, beautiful floral containers adorn the railings and station platform, the Station Master’s Garden is still growing strong and now there is a Community Garden in progress alongside the northbound platform, surely a first. Great emphasis has gone into spreading the word on social media, which is reaping benefits. A very well-deserved gold.”
If you’d like to be involved in Stonehouse in Bloom’s campaign for 2023-2024, please get in touch with Deborah Curtis at email@example.com or message the group via their Facebook page @StonehouseInBloom