Monday, 14 April 2014

Catching Up: January to April & Some Explanation as to who we are

 Our YEAR 2014
We are a small group of 8 people, 6 ladies & 2 men, all over the age of 65 who keep Rothwell looking its best.Throughout the year I keep a sort of diary of what our group does & the events that happen to make the group work. Having started this blog in April, the period up to then I will do in one go, and then add the rest in date order.

Rothwell is a small town, about 7 miles south of Leeds in West Yorkshire. The last coal mine shut down in 1985, and since then those mine sites have been turned into Country Parks. The town has a population of around 20,000, with good road links to both North & South on the M1 and east & west along the M62. There is a railway station 2 miles away in Woodlesford, that gives access to Leeds to the north & Wakefield & Sheffield to the south. The are a number of off road cycle routes mainly along old railway lines and disused canals. The town is dominated by Morrisons, a large supermarket chain, and many local shops as well set along a traditional high street know as Commercial Street, The Anglican church was built in 1200, the remains of a Manorial House dating from 1100 are in the Pastures Area, through which the Haigh Beck runs.
There is also a Methodist Church & Roman Catholic Church, as well as Baptist. We take part in Yorkshire In Bloom, a competition run by Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), supported by Leeds City Council. Our group is self-funded. Twice a year, in Spring & Summer, judges come from the RHS and judge our town.

Thursday 9th January: This morning we met for a meeting. Amongst the topics discussed was the route we were going to show the judges in this year’s judging days. We agreed we wanted to show them the many community projects that take place in Rothwell, the work done in allotments, schools, the cemetery, the various churches, the Pastures and the Rothwell Country Park. A working party was set up to devise the route for both spring and summer. We also talked about sponsorship, the new planters at Margaret’s Garden, a couple of days working with our football team at half term.  It was a productive meeting. Finally a programme of the next few weeks was devised, starting at the library next Thursday the 16th. We want a few more signs so that the people of Rothwell can see who is working in Rothwell.
Programme of Work

January 16th
Library Garden, route planning
February 6th
Margaret’s Garden & Bluebell Wood
January 23rd
Joseph Priestley College Garden & Ragamuffins
February 13th
Margaret’s Garden
 February 17th
Marsh St Car Park with Rothwell Juniors
February 20th
Marsh St Car Park with Rothwell Juniors

Monday 13th: John & Frances walked around Rothwell noting areas that needed signs, and thinking about wording for them. The lamp posts on Gillett Lane need signs drawing attention of the public that we provide the baskets at this point. It would be good to design something for a brick wall on Marsh Street that has loads of weeds growing round it now.
Thursday 16th January: Working party at the library garden, tidying the herbal beds; Molly, Margaret & Rosalind decided on the route for the judges, Frances & Betty met with Chris Handley our financial adviser for the charity. New signs decided on in the car park, at Gillett Bridge, at the Library, at the Methodist Church-all the signs to be big except that at Gillett Bridge which we want  on the wall of the bridge. New ideas to deal with wall between Reeds Rains & Manning Stainton, baskets hanging down from top of wall-perhaps ask Rothwell garden centre for ideas. New members, how to recruit them discussed-we must have advert in Morrisons and in the Library.
Monday 20th January: John saw Phil Caslake of Ashleigh Signs (‎ & ordered some new signs, 2 in the car park, I at the library, 1 at the Methodist Church and one at Gillett Bridge. Ideas considered about working with the football team in half-term.

Tuesday 21st January: Mollie prepared the map showing the route for the judges, which John collected & met Steve Armitage of Springhead Park & discussed the parks input to the judging in 2014, & the route through the park in both Spring & Summer. It would be good to get involved with a couple who share their garden with the public and show that to our judges in the summer.

Thursday 23rd January: Today we started at the library; Rosalind planted some 200 green snowdrops in Dorothy’s Garden-they were her favourite flower, we shall get some more for the cottage bed.
Then we worked at Ragamuffins & Joseph Priestley garden.
At Coffee Break we discussed taking part in RHS In bloom 50th anniversary. We are applying for some sunflowers to plant beside the Dolphin Beck and in Rothwell Methodist Church garden. The playgroup that uses their premises is called “Sunbeams”

 Thursday 26th January: Today we met in Marsh St Car Park for some un-glamorous weeding of the entrance beds on a cold, dank, January morning, weeding chickweed, ugh! Peter Jones weeded the prickly plant beds. More discussion about working with Juniors. (Before & After views of the car park entrance)

Thursday 6th February: A bit warmer today, but also dry! We have ordered our summer planting, adding 12 Amberols along Gillett Lane. We are taking part in a Community Fayre on Saturday 1st March at Rothwell Library. Contact made with Rothwell garden centre as regards the planters at Margaret’s garden. We want some more perennials for the Traffic Light planter, same as for Gillett Bridge Planters. We worked again at Marsh St Car Park entrance and planned our next few weeks work up to Spring Judging.
Tuesday 11th February: Contact with Richard Gill to ask about putting signs on the lampposts on which our planters are supported on Gillett Lane. He suggested we look at Scholes in Bloom who 4 years ago had a similar problem
Thursday 13th February: We worked at Margaret’s Garden on a fine cold morning after a terrible storm the night before. Rosalind showed us the logs she planned to put on Marsh St Car Park Entrance. Coffee was in the library when signs were discussed again. We have the new signs now-will erect them in 14 days.
Thursday 20th February: It was the turn of the Cottage Garden to be tidied, quite a mess it was. The Pampas Grass was cut down to size & all the shrubs were trimmed & rubbish removed. Margaret Jackson trimmed the lavender in Marsh St Car Park, and we all looked at the brick pathway on Margaret’s Garden which had sunk leaving the edges proud of the surface. Decision was made to rectify problem.
 The Community Provides for Rothwell in Bloom
Wednesday 26th February: Mick Burrows from Oakroyd, Rothwell arrived with some Bowles Mauve he has grown from seed, some Yellow Loosestrife & Wall Flowers, all grown from seed in his greenhouse, all for Rothwell in Bloom.
 Thursday 27th February:  We have decided to have the pathway repaired; John & Peter erected 2 new signs in Marsh St Car park; then collected 6 logs from a garden in Oulton Lane and with the aid of other members placed them in the Joseph Priestley side of the entrance to the car park, surrounded with ivy and anemones. Peter Lovatt from Woodlesford in Bloom has given us the name of a builder that has done work for them.
Thursday 6th March: We met at the library, where on Saturday 1st March our group took part in a community project in the morning. New contacts made, plans made to display our group there in spring for judging. Frances & Mollie are helping the children to paint sunflowers. On Thursday morning we tidied the beds at the library, the bulbs were flowering, even a large poppy too. All the beds are beginning to flower. John & Peter erected a sign acknowledging our debt to Dorothy Clarkson. Then a new sign was erected at the Methodist Church Garden.

Then two new tree stumps were bought from the log supplier on Castle Gate, Rothwell, and placed in the entrance gardens of Marsh St Car Park, one near Joseph Priestley & one covering messy area close to the working men’s club. The ladies then planted woodland plants around them. 

On our return home there was a message from Richard Gill, spring judging day on Thursday 3rd April, 0930. Later in the week he asked if we could do lunch. On Monday 10th March, Ian from Rothwell Garden Centre informed us that he would be delivering plants in the next fortnight or so, and Dean Pearce was engaged to repair the brick path. On Wednesday 12th March, Frances & Rosalind went to Great Preston Garden Centre where we now have an account-15% off. They bought some more woodland plants for the logs at Marsh St Car Park entrance and commenced weeding the planters at the One Stop shop-owned by Parks, but it’s unlikely they will get round to do so.
Thursday 13th March: A really pleasant day today, meeting at Marsh St Car Park and planting more plants around the logs, clearing out chickweed. At coffee break in the library judging was discussed, photo albums shown, and schedule of work planned up to judging on 3rd April. 
 We must get some watering done as I am sure the planters will be needing some water. We will have to have a watering rota to make sure all the planters get their fair share. Frances & John watered all the planters on Sunday 16th March. The new Amberols at Gillett Bridge were much easier than before using water from the River Dolphin. Friday 14th March: Green Thumb worked at Blackburn Hall Garden and the grass at Margaret’s Garden Spraying a selective weed killer on the grass to kill weeds & spreading fertilizer to encourage grass growth.

Saturday 15th March: Andrew Harland & John fixed the new sign on the wall of Gillett Bridge. The sign reads: "This area is planted & maintained by Rothwell in Bloom for a local resident in memory of her husband"

A new Project, well not a new one but renovation of an old one

Thursday 20th March: We gathered at Church St and set to work to clear the weeds that grow in the membrane; Peter Jones suggested we remove the membrane, so we set to work with scissors, knives to cut it then and forks to dig it over, then John & Molly went to Rothwell Garden Centre and bought some shrubs, bone meal and fertiliser, and into the ground they went. The plants were: Potentilla: Abbotswood, Pink Pearl, Fruticosa “Kobold”, Cistus: Grayswood Pink & Ledlon, Ceanothus Thysiflorus, Spiraea Abiflora. Now we have a new little project, adding shrubs to these planters, and with the membrane removed we can treat the garden like any other. Rosalind & Betty collected litter from alongside the riverbank, what a job, such a lot of it. Margaret opened the Methodist Church so we could have a break; On the way back to Church St, Rosalind suggested we arrange for a builder to repair the ground near a sign board and close to a bed. Rosalind also suggested that after Spring Judging we ask Red Hall to devise a planting panting plan and supply plants for the other bed in Marsh St Car Park we know as Jo’s bed. Frances took opportunity to speak to the organiser of “Sunbeams”-the parents of their children will contribute to our project there-taking photographs. John contacted Dean Pearce to get a quote for the repair work. About £200 with cobbles if available.

 Monday 24th March: Rosalind & Margaret worked on some private gardens on Gillett Lane.
Tuesday 25th March: John & Frances collected litter from the riverbank at the Pastures, gathered 5 bags altogether.
Wednesday: Parks Department placed the linings into the planters along Marsh St, on Blackburn Hall and along Gillett Lane & Gillett Bridge. Frances & Molly worked together at St Mary’s Church Garden. Frances arranged with Ian at Rothwell Garden Centre to deliver the plants to Margaret’s Garden on Tuesday 1st April at 10-30. Members to plant them in the planters & turf to be placed around trees and planters. 

We work with the community & school children at St Mary’s Church
Thursday 27th March: At 0930, Frances & Molly assisted by the children from St Mary’s school, planted some sunflowers into pots for their parents & into the garden of the church against the wall. The rest of us gathered at Margaret’s Garden in sunshine, but it then turned cold and started to rain, but we managed to weed Mary’s garden, & plant some new plants.

Then we moved to Back Gillett Lane Garden and tided that followed by work on the grass & tree beds. At coffee time we discussed the arrangements for judging, the planting of the planters on Tuesday and working with Rothwell Juniors on Thursday 10th April. We have decided to plant the Methodist Church Garden & Church St as well. John then tidied the War Memorial flower bed which was full of chick weed. By now it was raining hard, so everyone went home. Over the weekend, John continued to clear litter from the pastures area.

Monday 31st March: Frances & John erected 2 display boards in Rothwell Library for both the Judging & for the general information of people of Rothwell.

 Then we all met up at the library and worked on that garden, clearing weeds, litter etc.
 Others went to Marsh St Car Park entrance, others along Marsh Street, a general tidy up. Coffee in the library was a chat about timings for the judges’ visit and stationing volunteers for banners. John went to contact Parks re judging route and spoke to Kevin. In the afternoon more work at the Pastures removing litter. 
Tuesday 1st April: Ian from Rothwell Garden centre delivered plants & shrubs for volunteers to plant,

  Dean Pearce, builder repaired the brick path at Margaret’s Garden.

 Wednesday 2nd April: Frances & John worked at Marsh St Car Park pulling out chick weed again. A final wander around the Pastures to clear up more litter, and now for judging on the 3rd.
Thursday 3rd April: Judging Day, misty and cold it was, a litter pick around the Pastures, erecting of banners at Gillett Bridge, Margaret’s Garden, Library & finally St. Mary’s by 0845 where Martin Fish was waiting there, Richard Gill and soon Andy Mumford. No sign of anyone from parks, nor of Margaret the snowdrop lady. Molly started the ball rolling, walking around the impressive St Mary’s garden and explaining about the sunflower project. It would be good to have a few photographs of the children planting them to show the judges at some time particularly when the flowers have grown. Stuart Golton joined us as we walked along Park Lane west-Margaret was in the park, she joined us at the park entrance-I had to prompt her to tell the judges about her project. Then we walked through Springhead Park, which was looking very good. Slight fauxpas made when describing the disposal of waste plants into a skip with a plastic bag in it! Then out onto Gillett Bridge and the gardens there. At Margaret’s Garden the judges suggested we replace the trees to add some shade for the sitting public, but not near the buildings. Very little litter anywhere until a bus driver through something out of his window on Marsh St. The photograph prompt was helpful again at the car park entrance and Working Mens club. Slight problem with dryness of one stop planters. Some technical questions about overall planting plans for the library bed which had me floundering for an answer. Good to see Joe & Kara at the library, helpful advice about the Cornus plants, we were off on time again, and the walk around the pastures was good again, Joe & Kara adding their spiel! We were back in Church St and back at the church for lunch by 1140. Paid Dean Pearce for his building work, and thanked Parks & Litter people for their hard work. The booklet had done its work, the judges had read it beforehand.
Friday 4th April: Turned on water for irrigation system for planters on Blackburn Hall, gave Craig, caretaker a copy of the instructions. Cornus will require a pruning saw. Have a newspaper article regarding perennials.

Monday 7th April: Frances and John having planned the gardens at the Methodist Church & Church St, visited the garden centre at Great Preston where we have an account and bought £90 worth of plants for the Methodist Church Garden. Helen Turpin of the Rothwell Juniors confirmed that 7 boys plus 2 parents would be attending out planting session at that church on Thursday morning, the 10th April.
Tuesday 8th April:  SUNFLOWERS AT ROTHWELL LIBRARY: Frances & Molly went to Rothwell Library and with the staff and parents assisted several groups of children plant sunflowers and colour pictures of the same.
It was a great success, the staff were very pleased with the result, and Sue Childs, who attended the event with her grand-children has suggested that Rothwell Country Park Group & Rothwell in Bloom combine to do another such event at the library before Christmas.
9am saw John & Frances at the Methodist Church, plants put out on the flower bed, tools at the ready. Soon the boys started to arrive, not 7, but at least double that plus three parents. Soon everyone was hard at work planting all the shrubs, hedging & spreading ground cover.

During the interval when the boys had a drink, John went to Rothwell Garden Centre spent another £120 on more plants for the Church St Car Park garden. Everyone went to the car park, 
 the membrane was removed, and plants planted.

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