“Oh to be in England now that April’s there…” so wrote Robert Browning. Well the village has looked splendid with the spring flowers, daffodils have been flowering all over the village en masse. Thanks to all those who helped plant bulbs in the Autumn. It was worth it! And we have had a whole weekend of working with schools and locals to do the Great British Spring Clean. So much litter.. we wish people would stop dropping it!
The work continues and we enjoy the flower bulbs planted over recent autumns. Watch out for the tulips, which are starting to come through now.
The latest project is sanding and varnishing the many benches around the village. The team have been using yacht varnish which should give them a hardwearing finish to protect them from the elements.
Spring is in the air and we have been working hard as usual, gardening (of course) and working with local schools on an Anti-Litter Campaign. We organised a poster competition to design a picture with the theme – Keep the Green Clean. We had 115 entries from 3 different local schools. We received some wonderful colourful pictures from lots of environmentally-aware children. Thank you for the support of all the schools with getting the message across. Thanks especially to Mrs Livesidge (below) at Acocks Green Primary, for inviting us to the assembly to present the prize and spread the message to local children.
We have also been planting lots of shrubs on The Triabout to make a colourful all-round impact as you arrive in Birmingham from Solihull. All the spring bulbs we have planted are looking at their best too.
We’ve been working on the corner of Woodcock Lane, putting new turf down where the grass had been taken over by aggressive weeds. We also planted a Japanese cherry tree in the place where a tree blew down last year.
We have been working on hard on The Triabout, laying down hardcore for the path around the raised bed and tidying edges. As well as lots of litter-picking, as this area gets particularly litter-strewn. We think a lot of people must be throwing rubbish out of car windows, especially people frequenting the drive through MacDonalds!
Happy New Year from Village in Bloom Team – we are straight back to it doing a bit of top dressing/mulching of our beds. A great mixture of well-rotted horse manure, leaf mould, blood fish and bone and potash. This is a picture of us stirring up the concoction to feed the beds of Acocks Green!
We also dug up the red dahlias to store and prepare for next summer from the War Memorial. The sun came out and we picked up litter and generally tidied the area. A good morning’s work. We meet every Sunday at 10am and Wednesdays at 10am. We also recruit local litter pickers, supplying litter-pickers, special council bags and a list of places to leave the litter bags for collection by the council. Would you like to keep your neighbourhood litter-free? Get in touch with us! Or come along and join our crew – always plenty to do.
The Village in Bloom influence continues. This is the Three Tree Project. Three community-minded ladies contacted Village in Bloom and Roger Harmer about making a feature of the tree beds on their road. So on 16th December we went out in force with Roger to prepare the beds and plant them up with lots of spring bulbs. The council have been informed not to spray the area, so we look forward to another road benefiting from a little TLC and planting..
Fran our Co-Ordinator was able to secure a large selection of native trees and shrubs from the Woodlands Trust to plant in our area. Having strong connections with Fox Hollies Park and it being on the Village in Bloom Judging route, a hardy bunch of volunteers came together to plant on Sunday 2nd December. Our friends from 260th Scout group were out in force again as well as lots of local residents. The whole event was co-ordinated and organised brilliantly by Taija from the Friends of Fox Hollies Park. Well done everyone who took part in this great community event.
We were so lucky with the weather for our mass tulip planting on Sunday 18th November. Lots of enthusiastic volunteers came out to help, including our friends the 260th Scout Troop. It didn’t take long to plant over 1000 bulbs around the village, including red bulbs for the War Memorial and an array of beautiful shades around St Marys Churchyard, The Main Island, Mallard Community Orchard and around the Triabout area. They had such lovely names too including Moonblush, Charming Lady, Jazz and Angelique! We look forward to seeing them appear in the springtime. Thanks again to all those community-spirited people who came along to help.
Thanks to everyone who came out and helped plant hundreds of daffodils around Acocks Green including the local scout troop. We planted on the wall at Morrison’s, around trees on Warwick Road and at the ‘Triabout’ heading towards Olton. Look out for the hosts of golden daffodils in the spring time. Our next planting session will be on Sunday 18th November when we will be planting tulips. We welcome people to come along and help.
Come along and join the team for this annual event:
What an amazing month. Acocks Green Village in Bloom received a GOLD award for the 4th time in a row this month. We are very proud of the achievement which wouldn’t be possible without so much support from volunteers, organisations and the local businesses.
Also this month we were asked to host the ‘Its Your Neighbourhood‘ Awards for the RHS Heart of England area. On Thursday 27th over 200 people attended the awards ceremony held at our prestigious St Mary’s Church. A perfect setting on a sunny day, surrounded by the churchyard and the sun pouring through the Burne-Jones window – thanks to the church volunteers and everyone who helped with the large organisation of the event. We hope that people enjoyed their day, many of whom had never visited Acocks Green before. You are always welcome in Acocks Green so come back soon.
Also an extra busy month as Acocks Green is playing host the RHS Neighbourhood Awards Ceremony for the Heart of England Britain in Bloom. This means about 300 people from across the region (that goes as far as Shropshire and Staffordshire) will be visiting our area, chosen because of our established success in the Village in Bloom campaign. To welcome the visitors and put our success on the map the team have developed a brochure which you can click on to view.
The volunteers have been busy tidying up St Marys Churchyard because this is where the ceremony will take place.
The heatwave and watering continues throughout the month, thankfully we had a bit of rain to start to green up the beds once more. Next month the team find out what award the village will receive – will it be Gold for the 4th time?
Jerome our volunteer bricklayer has been working Sundays on the raised bed on the Triabout too. We are hoping it will be ready before winter arrives.
Stalls and Prize-Giving
The team have been getting around village with a stall at Acocks Green Carnival at the beginning of July and more gardening activities at Stockfield Funday. Lots of children sowed seeds and grown ups enjoyed planting up attractive planters that they took home at the end of the Funday. The aim is to encourage more people to enjoy gardening and taking pride in their local environment. Something the Bloom Team are passionate about. They also visited local stalls to present prizes for the annual art competition. Thanks to the hundreds of children who took part. We had so many lovely entries.
Watering, watering and more watering!
One of our team, George, had been watering the 22 planters which we had planted along the High Street; however, in this sweltering heat, it was becoming impractical, as he had to ask for water from various businesses.
He said that we needed a bowser. We researched this on the internet, but an easy solution could not be found. So we contacted Ian Jeffries, who offered us one of his dutch trollies, along with two water butts – but the wheels were too small to pull the butts along the pavement and across the road. However, from one of his catalogues, Ian identified a garden trolley with larger wheels; he ordered it and it arrived the following morning.
The two butts stacked side-by-side on the trolley were not a success, as their centre of gravity was too high for the arrangement to be stable. But Ged, another member of our team, offered us an old water tank from her garden – would you believe that it fitted? With some modifications and improvements, including a new tap, made by a third team member, Mick, the final arrangement was ideal. We then walked our new ‘water wagon’ around the village to provide much-needed sustenance to the plants in the planters.
Although ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ came into my mind, George thought of something much more dynamic, namely ‘The “A” Team’, whose catchphrase, at the end of their programmes was:
“I love it when a plan comes together!”
We are the “AG in Bloom” Team, – we have lots of plans, which always come together
Fran Lee – Co-ordinator – Acocks Green Village in Bloom
LOTS of hard work in the last month in time to welcome the judges to Acocks Green on 4th July. Lots of final touches and endless watering in this incessant warm and dry summer. Roger and Trish, the judges from the Royal Horticultural Society both have links with Acocks Green and enjoyed walking around our village and Fox Hollies Park, admiring our community links that we have built and the positive spirit around the village.
Thank you to Acocks Green Library who made us so welcome to hold the slide presentation and welcome tea and coffee for the judges and all those involved. There are too many other people to thank but you know who you are.
We now await the result in September. Can we retain GOLD award for the 4th year?!!
If you can help with watering in this dry weather do let us know! We would like local businesses and residents to adopt a planter to water.
An enjoyable time weeding and tidying in our lovely orchard. Lots to do before judging day on 4th July.
This month spring really sprung and the autumn planting of bulbs has paid off, giving an been exceptional display around the village, we hope you agree. Such an array of wonderful colours, so many tulips, so many varieties.
Our local volunteer Jerome has continued the building of the circular raised bed on the Triabout and we had a very well attended Village in Bloom Launch at Mallard Community Orchard. Thanks to everyone who came and supported us.
Another successful night at the Westley, thanks for all the support from businesses and those who attended. We had a whale of a time and raised lots of money for our continued hard work. At last Spring seems to have arrived after the longest winter. We have been busy tidying and pruning. The spring bulbs planted in the autumn look a wonderful sight all though the village. Its a sea of daffodils at the moment an the tulips are just starting to appear.
We also this month launch our annual Children’s Art Competition. Draw a picture on the form and drop it off at the address on the form. The entries are shown to the judges and some will go on display in the library and on this website.
What a hectic month! The team have been so busy working on the Triabout, the planned round raised bed is going well – the deep foundations have been dug and EHSmiths have kindly donated a lot of bricks to build the bed.
The team have been recruiting litter-picking champions too, to help keep streets clean, supplying them with all the equipment provided. And on 24th March we had Yet Another Bloomin’ Good Night at the Westley Hotel to raise important funds to continue the ViB work. It was a sell out and a great success. See the front page for more details.
Tickets now on sale for the third annual Village in Bloom Shindig. Previous years have been a sell out and great success. Come and celebrate the third Gold Award with us!
Last year ViB team were delighted and surprised to receive a special award – only one is given for the whole of the Heart of England Region – to recognise the success of working in partnership with so many different parts of the community. Being glass it has been difficult to capture the detail, but thanks to Jacqui – one of the ViB team and a talented photographer, this photo shows it in all its glory. Well done Jacqui. Well done Village in Bloom.
And so the team continue to work on the big project of 2018, The Triabout. The extensive bed has been dug and we are relaying turf in the bare patches. Jerome a local handyman has kindly answered our call out and has offered to build a raised brick built round bed to add to impact. Much thought and discussion has gone into choosing the right shrubs to give all round colour and impact. We also spent a bit of time tidying up Mallard Community Orchard. Plenty to do as always! Get in touch if you would like to help!
The cold winter continues and so does the Triabout digging! It’s satisfying work though. The huge new bed is dug out, and we are now digging over and building up the ground to make an attractive and striking entrance to Birmingham. A local man has kindly come forward to offer to help with the brickwork for the raised bed that will go in the middle, so watch this space. If anyone would like to come and dig just let us know or turn up! (Sunday and Wednesday mornings from 10am).
Lots of work on the Triabout this month, when it wasn’t snowing! We are digging a much larger bed to give all year round colour. It will be a real positive impact to the Gateway to Birmingham. We need help with digging and bricklaying.
We were pleased to see the new Acocks Green Car Wash. Very attractive improvement.
The Acocks Green Calendars are now available
The team have applied for some funding from Aviva Community Fund. The more we get the more money to support Village in Bloom. So register and vote now! It only takes a couple of minutes.
Another busy month with bulb planting and preparing beds for wild flowers in Oak Meadow, tidying up the orchard in Mallard Close and St Marys.
We are hoping that local people to Oak Meadow can come along to help plant wildflower seeds to enhance this attractive green space next to the Grand Union Canal.
The team had a good turn out for the mass daffodil planting. Thanks to everyone who came along and look out for the next mass planting of TULIPS on 19th November.
After the announcement of our Gold and Special Community Award we have not rested on our laurels and work continues around the village, tidying up the late summer flowers, there is always something to do! Its great to have the help of young James too who is completing his Duke of Edinburgh Award, so all this volunteering goes towards his award. (We think he actually enjoys it too!)
HOORAY FOR BLOOM!
Great news we achieved a GOLD Award for 3rd year in a row…also a
Special Community Achievement award. Well done team! The judges were very complimentary about the hard work of the team and how well they engage the community:
The Acocks Green In Bloom team goes from strength to strength each year and this year it was clear to see that they had gone again to another level. Veronica’s statue on the island by the Inn was certainly the icing on the cake following another jam packed year of work, events, community involvement and improvements. It was a pleasure to judge with so many wonderful people involved!
Also thanks goes to Jeffries Hardware they have dedicated their window display to the work of the team, they have supported the team all the way along, supplying fabulous plants and tools.
The team have been working hard as usual, have you spotted them around?
Well the judging is over and we have to wait til September for results. Fingers crossed! Our work continues. The wildflowers at the triabout look a treat. We need local people to help water though. Get in touch if you can help. We will supply watering can! Below is some of the work we have been up to recently. The wildflowers on the Triabout look especially lovely at the moment – welcoming everyone to Acocks Green and Birmingham!
Flaming June! We are working hard towards the Judging Day on Tuesday 4th July. Today we have been cutting back and tidying in the orchard. There’s lots of ripe raspberries and the cherries are just starting to ripen. There’s lots of watering to do!
Can you help? Anyone who would like to help by watering or in any other way do get in touch. We meet every Wednesday and Sunday but other days too at the moment. Its rewarding work and good exercise.
Children’s Art Competiton
Click on the link to find our annual art competition for children up to 16yrs. We look forward to a real imaginative collection of pictures inspired by the outdoors and supporting the natural world – Children’s Art Competition 2017
Launch Event at the Orchard
The Village in Bloom Launch Event on Saturday 13th May was a very pleasant community event. Thanks to all those who attended and added to the atmosphere. You know who you are! Also this year we had the added addition of the local bee keepers. And a great find – Barry the Busker, who played a great selection of 50s-70s music.
This is the month when everything starts growing like mad and new flowers appear each day. The team have been working really hard on the Triabout area, and have transformed the gateway into Birmingham, working with the council to improve the garden of the corner house that had become eyesore. They have also worked on a patch of waste ground, laying new turf and sowing wildflowers. Masses of tulips and daffodils have been planted on the triabout area and have been a delightful splash of colour to those arriving in Acocks Green.
And then there is the exciting news that our new Acocks Green Sculpture is ready for installation, so the team have been making the main island looks its very best in preparation for its arrival! All go!
Check out our Spring Newsletter
The team have been busy at St Mary’s and the Triabout, transforming the main A roads into the village, so that visitors will get a positive impression of entering Acocks Green!
Our autumn planting has paid off. So many people have remarked on how colourful the village is looking. It’s Tulipmania!
What a busy beginning to the month we have had. The fund raising night – Another Bloomin’ Good Night went off really well, a sell-out social evening that saw lots of people enjoying a great night of entertainment – here is what Fran Lee says about the night –
Fundraising for a voluntary group is never easy.
What better way to do it than involve the whole community. The Acocks Green Village in Bloom team organised a social event at the Westley Hotel – ‘Another Bloomin’ Good Night Out’ on Saturday 4th March. We had organised such a successful evening last year.
comprised of a live band ‘Canoe,’ a quiz, a buffet and a raffle. The prizes had been collected from the local shopkeepers in ‘the village’ and had donations from other community spirited people.
There were representatives from Arden and Hazelwood Road residents’ associations, the 260th Scout Troop, some shopkeepers and of course our local councillors – John O’Shea, Roger Harmer and Stewart Stacey who have given the Village in Bloom team lots of support.
Also from Hazelwood Residents’ Association, we had a volunteer compere, volunteer photographer and Angela Billingham made some jewellery especially for the raffle for this occasion. It was made of burnt copper comprising necklace and earrings in a leaf motif.
From this event, we have raised over £700
For the last two years, the Village in Bloom team has gained Gold in the Urban Category of Britain in Bloom – we are now aiming for Best in Urban category.
Fran Lee – Bloom Co-ordinator
ViB also got involved with the Great British Spring Clean activity, organised by Keep Britain Tidy. Working with around 40 Yr 7 children from Archbishop Ilsleys, the large groups picked loads of bags of litter round the back streets of the village.
Update from Fran – Co-Ordinator ViB:
‘The team believe it is best to carry on working all through the winter – beats the gym and keeps us warm. The raised bed on the corner of Woodcock Lane had been hurriedly planted when we had to move our plants from the central reservation to make way for the Smart Route. We set about a revamp. You will see the yellow of Achillea and Hellenium at the rear of the bed and then at the front will be the blues and whites of Salvia and Delphinium and at the height of Summer we have blue Agapanthus – so keep looking. We have also planted tulip bulbs in this bed as we have done in some of the other beds where the team gardens.
We are really moving in the ‘Triabout’ area and you will see from above photo that we have nearly finished digging alongside the garden of the house on the corner of Gospel Lane and Olton Boulevard East. Here we propose to mimic the beds on the main grassed area of the ‘Triabout’ and put a triangular lawn with a smaller triangle in the centre, edged in Box with a Magnolia tree in the centre.
Birmingham City Housing are now joining in as well as Council Highways Department and helping to enhance the garden at the end of Warwick Road where it joins Gospel Lane.
Here they are putting in picket fencing, improving the existing fencing and putting up trellising.
Casey Joe’s bar has even joined in by removing the large damaged sign and putting in one which enhances the area.
Won’t we see a change to the entrance of our super city?!’
The team’s Acocks Green Calendar proved a great success and all 400 calendars were sold. This raised funds for future improvement projects and plants so thanks to everyone who purchased one. We hope they are in pride of place now and reminding people of the attractiveness of our area.
More news – back by popular demand is a Bloomin’ Good Night. Following the success of last year’s first social evening under the Village in Bloom banner – tickets are now on sale for this year’s event. All info is below. If you would like tickets see below, it was a sell-out last year and tickets are going fast. Also if you would like to donate any good quality prizes for the Grand Raffle then please get in touch.
The team continues on improving the entrance into Birmingham, this week we were planting bulbs in freshly created triangular beds, echoing the shape of ‘The Triabout’ area, a name catching on in Acocks Green. Also we used the turf to improve the look of the corner house garden. It is such a busy corner. We are into creating a good impression of Birmingham and Acocks Green to the many people who travel on this road. The Bloom Team, with their years of experience, understand how important giving a positive impression of a place is. It is easy to not notice what you see every day, like litter and scruffy street furniture and untidy frontages. Working together, with the council, the businesses and individuals we can change our attitudes and continue to improve AG, making people proud to live and spend time here!
This Sunday we worked on tidying a very untidy corner as you enter Acocks Green. We are the gateway to Birmingham and so want to give a good impression!
Thanks to everyone who came out on 20th November to help plant 500 tulip bulbs around the village. The damp weather helped ease the deep planting of the bulbs. We look forward to our colourful springtime.
The Bloom team had long thought that the wrong impression was gained for Acocks Green and indeed Birmingham by the unloved appearance of the Boundary area. This is where Warwick Road, Olton Boulevard East and Gospel Lane meet where there is a triangular traffic island which we have named the ‘Triabout.’
We are going to be working in tandem with the council who are going to do some structural jobs including consolidating traffic signs, replacing the road signs with ‘heritage’ style ones and repairing the wall on the Warwick Road side of the grassed area. We are for our part are going to beautify the area including the grassed part of the triabout by planting. We have already tidied up the area by the garage of the house on the corner of Warwick Road. We have also planted additional daffodils (Narcissi) in the grass and around the trees. The council is aiming to complete their structural work by the end of March and our work will be ongoing. Do you live near here and want to help improve your environment? Many hands make light work, so don’t be shy, get in touch. Contact Fran on 0121 706 0076 or email: email@example.com.
Working with the Village Pub
The team have been working on another transformation project in conjunction with the village pub – Inn on the Green. The pub has recently opened it’s new Bottle Bar room and volunteers have been helping by organising a major tidy up of the car park and adding a touch of greenery in the bar. Check out the ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures below:
One of the perennial events in the Village in Bloom calendar is the ‘Children’s Art Competition. We invite children up to the age of 16 to enter and always have some super entries usually from schools in Acocks Green. The theme this year was following the RHS mission: ‘Greening Grey Britain’.
Meanwhile, in our library, this year an event was held called ‘The Summer Reading Challenge.’ To respond to this challenge, the children attending the library were asked to read six books and those that complete the challenge are rewarded with a medal and certificate. During this period, the children were also asked if they wished to enter our Art Competition and the response was extremely good.
We awarded Maryam Khan who attends Ninestiles school, with the award of judges favourite. Her prize was a case of artists’ materials and a large sketch pad to encourage her to continue with her creativity. Below are a reminder of the winners from this year’s competition again, including Maryam’s colourful watering can.
Fran was asked to attend the prize giving party sponsored by the ‘Friends of the Library’ when our prize was handed over to Maryam, followed by the medals and certificates for those children who completed the summer reading challenge.
Thanks again to all the children who entered the competition – there were 390 entries altogether!
The weather was looking very dodgy first thing for our bulb planting sessio with heavy rain. But then the sun came out and so did the volunteers !
We had 13 people altogether.. so a big THANKYOU to everyone who came out. Many hands make light work and all narcissi bulbs successfully planted. Next mass bulb planting is 20th November when we will be planting tulips. So come along and make a difference!
The Bloom team do not rest on their laurels. Work continues around the Green and so far we have had lots of decent weather to get stuck in. We have a new focus – the entry into Birmingham – making an impact for those arriving into Birmingham from Solihull.
*** Next Sunday ( 16th Oct) 10am – meet at the Orchard for Spring Bulb Planting with the team. Everyone welcome***
Well Done Team! Gold again – well deserved after a year of working hard in Acocks Green, making a real difference, table top sales, The Carnival, Social Fund Raising Evening, newsletters, oh yes and some gardening too!
Why not play your part in improving Acocks Green this autumn and join the team for a morning of bulb planting? An activity suitable for all ages as we will be planting up the containers on Warwick Road:
Sunday 16th Oct, 10am daffodil planting
Sunday 20th November 10am- tulip planting.
Meet at the orchard. Equipment provided.
Expanding the influence of ‘Bloom’ some of the team have been working with a local resident to tidy up the corner of Malvern and Yardley Road. With the addition of the Heritage Trail board, it was decided that the area needed a little TLC, so the hedge has been tidied up and a new planter placed close to the board. They sensibly used masks when cutting back the hedge.
Seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness down at the orchard. The delicious fruit is a lovely treat for the volunteers when they’ve been tidying up down at Mallard Close Orchard.
Work continues around the village. George has been staining and preserving the beautiful lych-gate of St Mary’s. Notice the before and after:
We’ve had quite a decent summer so far and there’s lots of work to do around the village including watering, pruning and general tidying. We have a local resident who waters the lovely hanging baskets outside the train station regularly and this year Dixons Estate Agents have brightened up their office with one of our colourful begonia baskets. Adam diligently waters it regularly to keep it looking great. We were very pleased to have a new regular volunteer too – Cathy has been a great addition to the team.
Although the judges have been and gone the tidying and gardening continues..
We had 390 entries to our Art Competition with the theme Greening Grey Britain. It was so difficult to choose winners as there were so many great entries, so thanks to the schools and every child that took part. Such imagination and originality. Below are just a few of our favourites. We have been giving out prizes this week, to show our appreciation.
The RHS Judges visited Acocks Green on Tuesday 12th July, in the pouring rain! The team had been working long days to make sure everything on the judges’ route looked great for the big day, including Westley Vale Millennium Green, St Marys, Hazelwood Road and Arden Road. They also visited the impressive school gardens of Acocks Green Primary. Thanks to the Inn on the Green for giving the team some welcome lunch. We have to wait until September 15th to find out the result. Fingers crossed!
Thanks to all those children who took part in the Art Competition, we had over 100 entries, some really imaginative and colourful pictures. We will choose some winners soon and put them on this website page.
The village has been a blaze of colour which we hope some of you have noticed. Certain areas have been transformed by some wildflowers and naturalistic planting, these sites particularly look so lovely at this time of year.
*** Launching our Children’s Art Competition****
Open to all children up to 16 yrs old. Design a picture with the theme RHS Britain in Bloom Theme “Greening Grey Britain for Health and Happiness” which is what we are aiming to do in Acocks Green. There will be prizes for different age groups, so print out the form today and get your pencils out! There is a jpg below or click on the pdf
Our spring planting has been flowering and brightening up the village. In gardening you always win some and lose some, here are some colourful shots of some winners.
Another busy month! We officially launched RHS Village in Bloom 2016 at our lovely orchard. After the early snow showers, the day brightened up and lots of people came along to buy plants and other goodies, chat to the gardeners, admire the orchard and the Acocks Green Hoard and sow seeds.
The three councillors visited and Jess Philips MP came along to show her support. Thanks to everyone who helped, contributed and supported the event. ViB made over £300 to spend on further enhancements to the village.
We also found time to do some work for Stockfield Community Association. To focus resident’s minds to the Gardening Competition we decided to encourage new people to the delights of gardening by giving away nasturtium seeds to all the residents, spending a couple of hours attaching seeds to the regular Stockfield News. The hope is that this will encourage people to garden, by planting the free seeds and enjoying seeing them grow and flower.
This month the Village in Bloom Co-ordinator, Fran Lee, was invited to a Birmingham in Bloom event held jointly by Birmingham Open Spaces Forum and Birmingham City Council. Predominantly, it was to promote Britain in Bloom and enhancing Neighbourhoods – ‘Greening Grey Britain’ is the current theme. Fran spoke about Acocks Green and moving from Bronze to Gold Award in four years. She showed how working with the council, the BID, the schools and the wider community has achieved so much here. She showed 80 photographs which illustrated the point. So much has been achieved, she did not really have time to get through the 80 slideshow pictures!
Darren Share, who recently gained an MBE for his services promoting the city through Britain in Bloom, also spoke about many points of interest from all over Britain.
Springtime in the Orchard
The sun even came out whilst out tidying up the Mallard Community Orchard on the Spring Equinox. The daffodils were looking their best. We are working hard to make the orchard look its best in readiness for the launch of Acocks Green Village in Bloom Launch on 16th April. There will be lots of plants for sale, refreshments, seed-sowing and lots more.
What a great night we had at the Westley Hotel at the end of February. It was our first Village in Bloom Fund Raising social evening which we entitled A Bloomin’ Good Night! It lived up to its name. 130 locals, friends and family joined the celebration. Canoe rocked out some great tunes, people ate, drank, quizzed, danced and won great prizes on the raffle.
Thanks to EVERYONE who supported the event, too many to list, but its fair to say it was a great success and helped to raise the profile and lots of money to continue our work in Acocks Green Village.
The year marches on and we continue work at St Marys, tidying graves, planting and weeding. The daffodils are coming out around the village now and there are lots of snowdrops at Woodcock Lane, where we were tidying in the winter sunshine this week
We are very excited about our Fund Raising Social Evening – A Bloomin Good Night, we have virtually sold out now, so it should be a great celebration and get together.
Happy New Year from the Village in Bloom Team. Each week we meet up even during the winter and work on improving the village. Last week we dug a new bed in front of the St Mary’s Church sign. We also spent quite a while on the main island, cutting back perennials and tidying up. There should be a mass of spring flowers appearing soon and all our work will be worth it.
The other big news on the Bloom Calendar is our first ever Celebration and Social Evening at the Westley Hotel. All the details are below. It should be a super get together and an opportunity to raise funds. Tickets are selling fast, they are only available in advance and can be bought from Swan Trio or Jeffries Hardware.
The Bloom Team aren’t ones for long lazy Christmas holidays and the team were out in force today fixing the new wrought iron handle on the recently replaced lychgate. It is now restored to its former glory in time for St Mary’s 150th year celebration in 2016. The team have also worked hard sprucing up the graveyard since late summer.
Also thanks to the teams efforts lots of bulbs and flowers are in place to give a beautiful spring display to be appreciated from Warwick Road, so keep visiting our site to see the updates and look out for a new splash of colour in the graveyard soon.
Work continues at St Mary’s Churchyard. Tidying graves, and colourful planting. The Bloom team were also joined by some children from Cottesbrooke Junior School to see the unveiling of the new sign on the Bug Hotel made by Acocks Green Scouts. Pupils from Cottesbrooke helped build the hotel last year. Also it was great to see the 17 new trees being planted in the village. They are a nice variety and semi mature, so add the finishing touches to the Smart Route. We await the large planters which will also contain decorative shrubs. These should be appearing soon.
In the last month the team have been concentrating efforts on St Mary’s Churchyard. Handyman Extraordinaire Mick has been setting up a new water butt, fixing the gate back on the lych-gate and scaling scary heights to prune the Yew Tree. And as Remembrance Sunday is soon approaching the team spent quite a bit of time tidying around the memorial and planting some lovely red cyclamen to keep the traditional red floral theme. They have also been down the Orchard tidying up and picking the last of the redcurrants. In the next week or so they will be planting tulip and other bulbs. If you would like to help then get in touch.
Making the most of the autumn sunshine, the Bloom team have been busy working on their new project, to make new beds in St Marys Churchyard. The idea is that this attractive planting will have a colourful and positive impact as people arrive into Acocks Green along Warwick Road, from the direction of Tyseley. There will be wallflowers and later the team will plant tulips. Also pink hardy geraniums will edge and spill over the wall.
The word is spreading about our Gold Award:
Fantastic News – for the first time Acocks Green Village received a GOLD AWARD by RHS Britain in Bloom, thanks to the hard work of the volunteers and support from Acocks Green BID, schools and businesses.
For the first time the station has had hanging baskets, bought, tended and watered by local volunteers. The team are always looking for people to help in different ways, just watering is an important part of the work, can you help next year?
The whistles and Village in Bloom planting bed is looking particularly colourful in the sunshine. Great to see the poppies coming through, appropriate for this commemorative flowerbed.
Mallard Community Orchard – A Fruitful Year
Our Community Orchard is full of fruit at this time of year, and is there for local people to enjoy. If you are going to pick the fruit though, make sure it is ripe. It is still another month or so before the apples and pears will be ripe. There are lots of redcurrants and raspberries though, delicious on your breakfast cereal. And don’t forget all the herbs in the central herb garden – rosemary, sage, mint, chives.. liven up your cooking with locally grown herbs.
Bloom at Stockfield Funday
Thanks to Stockfield Community Association for inviting us along to their annual Fun Day at Stockfield Park. It was a lively event with lots to see and do and the team enjoyed being part of it. We had a the tall giving out free gardening advice, a demonstration on how to plant up a successful Hanging Basket, which we then added to the raffle, and seed sowing of a variety of flowers and herbs. If any of people who sowed seeds that day has some photos of the plants do pass them on to us – we’d love to see them!
The Royal Horticultural Society Judges visited Acocks Green on 8th July. They were very impressed with the achievements of the Village in Bloom team and also the hard work and involvement of so many other community organisations and businesses. We have to wait til September 10th for the announcement of the result.
The Bloom team also judged the Children’s Art Competition. There were around 130 very colourful and well designed entries. Thanks to everyone who took part. Three winners were chosen. One from each of the schools which entered – Cottesbrooke Junior, Acocks Green Primary and Holy Souls Infants & Junior.
Here are a selection of some of the entries as well as the 3 winning pictures:
In Harmony with Fitzgerald ‘s
People may have noticed that there is ongoing mayhem happening in Acocks Green with the construction of the ‘Smart Route.’
However, with all this going on, the Bloom team have been working away and Fitzgerald the contractor has helped us to reach some of Village in Bloom goals. You may remember that on the central reservation, there was a wall constructed out of stone which was rescued from a convent which once stood on the land where Sainsbury’s is now.
They retained some of the stones and delivered them to the corner of Woodcock Lane and Warwick Road where we now have a glorious flower bed, not only so that we could construct a raised bed but that we could retain a little of Acocks Green’s history. They also cut them up into more manageable pieces.
They also helped the Bloom team when they made over the garden on the other side of the road by providing loads of gravel. What would we have done without them? Wait until the ‘Smart Route’ is finished, coupled with our tender loving care, Acocks Green will be all the better for it.
Fran Lee – Co-ordinator – Acocks Green Village in Bloom
To volunteer: e.mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 0121 706 0076
Watch the slideshow to see some of the work we have been involved with this year.
RHS Britain in Bloom Theme 2015-2017
Greener Streets : Better Lives
June 2015 – The hanging baskets are in place outside Acocks Green train station and a local resident has kindly promised to water them. Also we finally arranged for London Midland to display the Village in Bloom poster designed by our volunteer Veronica, so that passers by can see the positive image of the Village.
May 2015 – The whistles have returned and Fran and Veronica took a break from planting the annual bedding plants that will surround the whistles, to try them out!
We were lucky enough to have the whistles last year, straight from the Chelsea Flower Show and are glad to have them back here again. A link with Birmingham’s past and a bit of a talking point. For all the background on the whistles click WHISTLES
Children’s Art Competition – Click to download entry form. *** Closing Date 30 May****
We had a wonderful selection of entries last year, including around 200 from Acocks Green Primary School. Here are a reminder of last year’s winning entries (there are lots more to see further down this page) :
This month spring has really sprung and it is the month of the official launch of our entry into Britain in Bloom 2015. We will be having a launch event in Mallard Community Orchard on Mallard Close on Saturday 25th April, details with some more recent photos below:
Spring sunshine has brought out the daffodils on Pigeon Island. All that autumn bulb-planting was worth it in the end!
More focus on Woodcock Lane this month with the placing of sandstone bricks reclaimed from the now demolished central reservation. These stones were the original boundary to Crosby Hall, an historic grand old house dating from 1800s, that stood where Sainsburys is now. So this is a little bit of history preserved. Thanks to the contractors Fitzgeralds for looking after them and putting them in place in their new home. Thanks to the Village in Bloom volunteers who have been building the raised bed with them.
The battle against litter continues. A team of volunteers went to the boundaries of Acocks Green to clear a piece of land that seemed to contain years of built up litter. In less than 2 hours the team had cleared 7 bags of litter. New signs have been put into place now to remind people to use the nearby bin.
The snowdrops planted in January are looking great under the trees on Woodcock Lane..
The wintery weather continues but it doesn’t stop the hardy volunteers who have been working on three of the main gardening sites in the Village – the island, Woodcock Lane and Mallard Community Orchard.
The team had a promising meeting at the end of January with London Midland at Acocks Green train station. The plans are to have colourful hanging baskets on the front of the station and on the platform, as well as an exclusively designed Village in Bloom poster on display. They are also encouraging the development of Friends of AG Railway Station to help look after the plants. Would you like to help the hanging baskets flourish through the summer months with regular watering? All equipment and instructions provided. You can help enhance Acocks Green and brighten up the station for locals, passengers and visitors. Contact the Village in Bloom Fran Lee on 0121 706 0076 or email: email@example.com for more information.
Have you seen the exclusive Village in Bloom postcard? The first postcard of the village that has been produced since the 1950s! Available in Bodylines, Swan Trio and Jeffries Hardware for just 20p.
Well, it’s all happening in the village with the new road and pavement layout. We can only try to imagine how attractive it will all turn out with the widened pavements which are being re-paved with attractive new slabs, extra parking and an avenue of trees which is eventually going to be put in place with the addition of raised beds for planting. The ViB team have big plans for 2015 – click here: Village in Bloom Plans 2015
The Village in Bloom team is working in conjunction with the council on the new layout . As well as the village developments the team is planning to adorn Acocks Green railway station with our ‘yesteryear’ poster, planters and hanging baskets. With this in mind, we are seeking ‘Friends of Acocks Green Station’ to water the containers and baskets and generally keep the area tidy. If you live nearby and would like to help, do get in touch.
Also if you feel you can contribute in any way with helping us to enhance our village and surrounding areas, contact Fran Lee, Co-ordinator – Village in Bloom. e.mail: firstname.lastname@example.org: 0121 706 0076
One of the on-going battles of Acocks Green Village in Bloom is litter. It blights our community and costs a lot of public money to clean up every day. People Against Litter was set up by an Edinburgh citizen who was fed up of litter and wanted to do something about it. Supporters take the pledge and become P.A.L.S. This is a grassroots scheme to encourage people to do something positive about litter and to spread the word. It is simple. You make a pledge to pick up at least one piece of litter per week and recruit one other person to do the same. This way more and more people can take direct action in cleaning up their neighbourhood. Just click and sign up today: People Against Litter
Also dumped rubbish can also be reported directly to the city council HERE
The Acocks Green Village in Bloom team feel People Against Litter is a great idea. They are always encouraging residents, shopkeepers and businesses to take pride in their shop fronts and report dumped rubbish. Some of the Village shops are great at sweeping up outside their forecourts and putting out hanging baskets and planters. They know that a nice looking shopfront will encourage more customers.
To encourage Pride of Place and raise the profile of Acocks Green Village in Bloom, a postcard has been produced – the first for a very long time – of Acocks Green Village. The colourful card showing the ‘Green’ with magnolia and tulips in flower, is on sale in several shops in the village.
Also thanks also to Hazel from Swan Trio for rallying local businesses to create this great version of the Twelve Days of Christmas on Youtube.
Seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness! The team has been busy widening the borders on Woodcock Lane to put the extra plants in from the (soon to be removed) central reservation. Whilst doing so they came across a mystery fungus too – there was a bit of a worry that it might be the damaging Honey Fungus, which can sometimes kill trees. If anyone can identify it please let us know! There has also been work to do on the War Memorial outside the library, taking out the red geraniums to overwinter in people’s greenhouses. The red floral theme continues though with lots of red cyclamen. Their delicate nodding heads give welcome colour at this time of year. The Memorial now looks attractive for the very important Remembrance Sunday, especially in this important centenary year, commemorating the First World War.
Although you make think that there isn’t much to do with Village in Bloom this month, volunteers have been working against the clock to preserve the perennial plants in the central reservation around Sainsburys and Holy Souls Churc. This reservation will soon be no more because of the Smart Route development. The gardeners have been widening the beds on Woodcock Lane to add the array of plants to and also been tidying up Mallard Community Orchard. They were also very pleased to welcome a new regular volunteer – Brenda. Great to have another pair of hands to help out.
The team have also produced a limited edition attractive colour postcard of Acocks GreenVillage Green blossoming with spring flowers. The aim is to promote the Bloom work and encourage people to take pride in Acocks Green. The special edition postcard is available in some of the independent shops and businesses such as Bodyline.
Results announced – Acocks Green Village in Bloom received a Silver Gilt Award at the Heart of England Britain in Bloom Awards. Improving on last year’s Silver Award and showing the continuous improvements that have been made. Well done to those who worked so hard and everyone who supported the project. The team are always looking for new people to help in some way, even if it is just to water containers and planters around the village, especially in dry weather.
July 2014 – Update
Well the judging is over, Trish and Graham, from RHS Heart of England came along on Tuesday 15th July to look at our village, the Millennium Green, Hazelwood Road, Arden Road, St Mary’s Church and Close, Acocks Green Primary School.
It was great to see some of the businesses making a real effort to back the campaign with planting and decoration. Thanks especially goes to Acocks Green Library who welcomed the judges and Bloom volunteers to their coffee morning and a offered the team a place to host a presentation of pictures of the work that has taken place over the year.
Just in time arrived the award-winning floral display from Birmingham City Council, which now resides on the main island. It features the Acme whistles, which have been made in Birmingham for over 100 years. They were used by soldiers in the trenches in the First World War, so a poignant memorial with a Birmingham connection. Below is the presentation of slides shown to the judges that those of you who have powerpoint can watch:
More photos from this month:
Its a busy month, getting ready for the Heart of England RHS Bloom Judges who will be visiting our area on Tuesday 15th July. We are very grateful to the team of hardworking volunteers, as well as the Halifax Building Society, who in recent weeks, have kindly been supporting the Bloom Team by allowing staff time out to help with the weeding and tidying of the village. More volunteers are always very welcome.
Thank you to all the children that took part in the Village in Bloom Children’s Poster Competition in May. There were so many colourful and imaginative entries, the judges found it difficult to choose just 3 winners. Here are photos of the three winning artists, all from Acocks Green Primary School, and a small selection of just of some of the 250 delightful entries. Two of the Bloom team presented the winners with their prizes – an artist’s box full of drawing pencils and tools. Thanks again for all the enthusiasm and interest in the competition. Lets hope the village plants and flowers brighten the place up as successfully as these posters!
Thanks to all those children who took part in our Village in Bloom Children’s Poster Competition. Thanks especially to Acocks Green Primary School who supported the competition so well. We have hundreds of lovely, colourful and imaginative posters to look through. Keep an eye on this page to see the winners soon!
This month in the village we have been focussing on the planting in Woodcock Lane. From a pleasant but empty grassy rectangle we have put in new borders, a bug hotel, oval flower bed and a magnolia tree. There are perennials, shrubs, climbers, annuals and wild flowers that have been planted and sown in this once bland space. Already flowers are flowering and there will be many more to come, so watch this space. As we have been working on this site we have had so many positive comments and feedback from local residents. We have also had many plant donations by locals too. Its heart-warming to hear such words of encouragement. We are always looking for more volunteers or people to water too, details on how to get in touch are below, or just come and talk to one of us when we are out working (usually Sundays and Wednesdays).
If you would like to help in this positive and worthwhile campaign then contact us on this website or the project co-ordinator Fran on 0121 706 0076, email: email@example.com. The volunteers generally meet on Sunday mornings at 10am. Also you can Just turn up, no experience necessary! There will be more news and pictures on this page. Also we need people who can water plants during dry spells can you help?
Village in Bloom Launch, April 2014
Village in Bloom Launch – Mallard Close 26th April
There was a great turn out and some convincing Community Spirit at our little orchard to launch this year’s Village in Bloom project. There were children sowing sunflowers, local craftspeople selling their wares, Hannah Brown the mural artist painting with watercolours, a local beekeeper talking bees. and the enthusiastic input of the scouts supplying some freshly-cooked food and fresh coffee supplied by Wetherspoons and of course lots of plants. Thanks to all those who came to support the event including our local councillors and MP.
Team Spirit – Cottesbrooke Junior School and your Bloom team .
The Acocks Green in Bloom team is creating a garden on the corner of Woodcock Lane to welcome shoppers to our village. Lots of planting is happening and which will comprise of shrubs, bulbs, perennial and annual planting. The pupils at Cottesbrooke Junior School are working towards their good citizen award and offered to come and help us.
We required a home for many bugs which would help our garden to keep healthy as we garden organically. This was the first job we found for the pupils and they really worked hard and understood exactly what they had to do and they were so happy to do it.
The bug hotel comprises of logs and branches from trees which is essential for the larvae of wood-boring beetles and supports many fungi which help break down the woody material. Bamboo canes and holes drilled into blocks of wood make good nest sites for solitary bees. We used dry leaves for a variety of invertebrates which mimics the litter on the forest floor. Hedgehogs need a secure place to build their nests in and frogs and toads when out of water need stones and tiles to provide the cool damp conditions they need. All these creatures eat slugs which make unsightly holes in our plant leaves. This construction also provides homes for lacewing and ladybirds which eat aphids and bumblebees which need the nectar and help to pollinate our plants. The pupils hunted around and quickly found and placed all the materials needed for our bug friends into their new home. They also helped to plant seeds and bulbs – a good time was had by all. We are also looking for grown-up volunteers. If interested contact me or just turn up in the village on Sunday or Wednesday mornings at 10 a.m.
Co-ordinator – Acocks Green Village in Bloom
0121 706 0076
Working Around the Village – March 2014
February 2014 – On Sunday we had a respite from the incessant rain and actually enjoyed a pleasant morning in the sunshine planting bulbs on the corner of Woodcock Lane. 100 English bluebells were planted as well as snowdrops and some perennials against the wooden fence. Volunteers should be around this Sunday morning, weather permitting, so come along say hello and maybe lend a hand.
26th January 2014 – Thanks again to EH Smith and their kind donation of bricks and thanks to Mick’s swift and tidy handwork, a new flower bed is now in place on ‘Pigeon Island’. It is planted with perennials and bulbs, more plants will be added in the springtime.
January 2014 – The damp winter continues but some of the hardy volunteers have been meeting on Sundays to plan out and prepare the green spaces throughout the Village. Recently the focus has been the green space on the corner of Woodcock Lane and Warwick Road, at the top of the village. This is an important site because it is the first impression of the village as you arrive from Solihull. Thanks to EH Smith and their donation to the project, the Bloom team have filled the borders with fresh top soil and expanded the central bed on this corner land. The plans are to plant an everygreen magnolia tree here soon, which has lovely white flowers throughout the summer – so keep an eye on developments.
To keep local people informed of the Bloom team, Fran Lee the co-ordinator recently wrote this piece for the Stockfield Newsletter. You can read the article:
For the second year Acocks Green Village entered the Britain in Bloom under the ‘Urban’ category. In 2012, with some hard working volunteers and determination from the Bloom Co-Ordinator Fran, the village won a Bronze Award. In 2013 the Bloom team worked even harder and got a lot more people involved with the project and were very pleased to be rewarded with a Silver Award. Fran received extra recognition with a Special Merit. The ongoing Bloom Project is to make Acocks Green Village a more attractive place to live, shop and work.
- If you would like to help in this positive and worthwhile campaign then contact us on this website or the project co-ordinator Fran on 0121 706 0076, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The volunteers generally meet on Sunday mornings at 10am. Also you can Just turn up, no experience necessary! There will be more news and pictures on this page.
November 2013 – This month the Bloom team have been tidying up the war memorial, planting bulbs and tidying up around the village. Also a local resident Irene is sister-in-law to a couple who run Woodland Horticulture Ltd. They were so impressed with the Village in Bloom team in Acocks Green that they kindly offered to donate a large supply of compost for the team to use on the project. A pallet load was delivered to Fran’s home this month and the team then went about distributing the bags around the village for storage and safekeeping. Thanks to all those who helped, and thanks especially go to Woodland Horticulture Ltd for their support and generosity.
October *****Thanks to those you came along in October to plant spring bulbs. Many were planted on the orchard site and on the large island by Zorbas, Warwick Road, to welcome people to AG Village. So look out for them in the springtime*****
To see a lot more information about the 2013 Village in Bloom Entry you can view the Portfolio of work below, by clicking on different sections:
The Orchard Story – A Slideshow