Monday, 25 March 2013
Let’s Get Bearwood Blooming!
We have recently heard on the Bearwood Grapevine about a front garden competition that's going to be run. Between trying to clear the snow from her rosemary and thyme plants we asked Deborah Yuill, one of the competition organisers, for more details.
Deborah... this sounds like a great idea. What's the competition going to be called, who can enter,how are the front gardens going to be judged and most importantly (of course!) what are the prizes for best front garden in Bearwood?
It’s called 'Let’s Get Bearwood Blooming!' and it is open to residents of Bearwood, as defined (more or less) by the area encompassed by four pubs: The Bear, The Dog, The King’s Head and The Barleycorn. There are three cash prizes for the best front gardens, starting at £200 and rising to £500.
The gardens will be judged by a panel of three or four local residents, though I’m not sure who yet. I will probably ask my friend Pam who is a fantastic gardener and also a member of Thimblemill Library’s reading group, Bearwood Bookworms. I will have the final say though if the judges can’t agree!
So...what do you think of Bearwood’s front gardens? Have they improved over the years?
I think what’s happened to front gardens in Bearwood reflects what is happening everywhere really – they are getting paved over. Did you know that one-third of Britain’s 26 million front gardens have been converted to hardstanding? It’s a real tragedy, not just from a horticultural point of view, but also because paved front gardens increase the risk of flooding, increase the heat-island effect in cities, and destroy wildlife habitats. And they look awful too! So the competition is basically saying ‘save it, don’t pave it!’
Please tell us what you think makes a good front garden....
We walk through our front gardens every day, in all seasons and all weathers, so it is a focal point, yet I see so many that are neglected or a dumping ground as I walk round Bearwood. That journey to the front door, however short, can be one that is filled with colour, scent and the sound of insects. For me, a front garden looks welcoming if it has plenty of colour and cover using a mixture of shrubs and herbaceous plants. Personally, I love a traditional cottage garden look, but there are loads of other options.
It's Easter this week and OMG it's still bitterly cold. The bookies have bets on that we're going to have a white Easter this year (no way!).
What tips can you give any other gardeners to help them make their front gardens look pretty?
Work out which direction your garden is facing, and whether it is shaded or sunny: that way you can choose plants that will thrive in that position. It also helps if you look at what does well in neighbouring gardens: Bearwood has a clay soil, so you see camellias, fuchsias and hydrangeas doing well here. And be tolerant of weeds and pests: I’d much rather see a garden that is a bit messy than one that’s been sprayed into perfection using weedkiller!
We can tell you just love gardening, what do you particularly like about it?
The most important thing for me is providing a green corridor for wildlife. I find that so satisfying. In the past 10 years, I’ve seen a huge increase in the diversity of birds coming into my garden because I garden organically - chaffinches, bullfinches, goldfinches, robins, wrens, sparrows, greenfinches. When I arrived here 10 years ago I was lucky if I saw so much as a pigeon (they still visit of course!)
Your garden looks so pretty. Who inspired you to be so green fingered?
My mum. She is 92 and has had the same garden now for the past 30 years. She is a bit too old to garden very much now, but when I was growing up she was always in the garden, planting, staking and trying to make the waterfall in the pond work properly. I used to love browsing the seed and rose catalogues and I think I inherited my love of gardens from her. The smell of tomatoes in a warm greenhouse always reminds me of my mum.
We would love to know more about your connection with Bearwood. How long have you lived here for?
I moved to the West Midlands from my birthplace in Sheffield about 22 years ago. I hated Birmingham for the first five years, but when I discovered Bearwood, I fell in love. (Mrs B - love this answer!)
We are so lucky to have Warley Woods and Lightwoods Park on our doorstep. What do you think the future is for our favourite parks?
I hope people continue to respect them as green spaces, and not just as ‘amenities’ for us to use.
It would be great to find out your your Bearwood All-Star. In other words, who/what or where makes your smile in Bearwood?
Crikey – lots of things – but if I have to choose one, it is Bearwood Pantry, our wonderful, unique food co-operative.
We alway ask everyone this question. What makes Lightwoods Chippy’s chips orange?
I hope it is a natural additive – turmeric perhaps? (we hope so too!)
Thanks Deborah...sounds like a blooming good competition!
We will keep you posted with how you can enter the 'Let's Get Bearwood Blooming' competition on our Bearwood Blooms page.