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In Bloom community work is blossoming

Willow artist Elizabeth Cooke, left, South Lee School pupils, residents of Stradbroke Court, artteacher Vic Wright, right, and Melanie Lesser ,Bury in Bloom co-ordinator, centre

The seeds of Bury in Bloom’s community work have blossomed with sculptures, workshops and young gardeners providing the town with a floral-themed boost.

Artist John Williams has carved four sculptures depicting craftsmen who worked at Bury St Edmunds Abbey.

They will have pride of place near the central beds in the Abbey Gardens.

Pupils at South Lee School and Hardwick Primary wove crowns, flowers and even a tail in workshops run by willow artist Elizabeth Cooke.

South Lee invited residents from sheltered housing scheme Stradbroke Court to join the activity.

Ten pre-schools and nurseries have entered In Bloom’s Busy Green Fingers contest and judges inspected the gardening efforts of children at Tollgate Nursery. They were joined by employees from Treatt, which sponsors the Busy,Young and Senior Green Fingers contests.

Melanie Lesser, In Bloom co-ordinator, said: “The gardening is just part of the activities, they also produce diaries, log books and art work inspired by the gardens.”

Meanwhile, Mrs Lesser joined the Abbey Gardens Friends and a gardener from the Abbey Gardens to tidy up the River of Flowers on the Tollgate Triangle ahead of a visit by Anglia in Bloom judges to the town on July 11.

Bury Free Press - Friday, June 30, 2017

Abbey ruins’ monks are celebrated with four new sculptures

Sculptures by John Williams installed in Abbey Gardens, Bury St Edmunds. Left to right, Lynda Seldis, Martyn Taylor, John Williams, Melanie Lesser and Graham Maynard.

Monks who would have once called the ruined Bury St Edmunds Abbey their home have been celebrated with four handcarved wooden sculptures.

Bury artist John Williams has carved four monk sculptures from elm grown in Nowton Park.

After weeks carving the statues cooped up in one of the Abbey Gardens’ aviaries, Mr Williams revealed his final work at an unveiling yesterday.

The sculptures depict the craftsmen that have worked on and in the St Edmundsbury Abbey over the centuries, with The Mason, The Physician, The Scribe and The Herbalist.

Bury in Bloom paid for the tools used to create the sculptures, while the Abbey volunteer gardeners have helped to prepare the new bed for the display.

Martyn Taylor, Bury Society chairman, wrote four information panels explaining each artwork and the history of the role they depict.

East Anglian Daily Times - Friday, June 23, 2017

New willow sculpture helps celebrate Abbey Gardens’ gardeners

The people who care for and maintain the popular Bury St Edmunds Abbey Gardens are being celebrated – with a willow sculpture of a gardener and his wheelbarrow just unveiled.

Bury in Bloom commissioned the willow gardener after Rebecca Davis, St Edmundsbury’s horticultural officer, came up with the idea.

The sculpture is made by Chevington based artist Elizabeth Cooke, who created a steel frame and then wrapped it with willow grown in the Bury Water Meadows. It will be on display all summer.

Michelle Freeman, from Crafty Foxes, created a hedgehog family from recycled items to join the gardener in the bed, which is full of bee-friendly plants.

Melanie Lesser, Bury in Bloom coordinator, said: “We are delighted with the gardener; he makes a great focal point in the bed which we are using each year for different displays linked to other projects.”

East Anglian Daily Times - Friday, June 16, 2017

Funding for plant schemes set for gardens that are almost 200 years old

Abbey Gardens Friends working on the improvement projects.

Two projects to enhance the award-winning Abbey Gardens including planting a special clematis named after Nathaniel Hodson, who started the gardens in 1820, have been funded by a local volunteer group.

The two improvement schemes at the renowned park – which is owned by St Edmundsbury Borough Council – have been made possible by the Abbey Gardens Friends (AGF).
  They will include replanting a herbaceous border near the Rose Garden and installing 44 new oak posts in the central bedding area.
  Further improvement projects will be announced later in the summer.
  Sophie Roebuck, chairman of the friends group, said: “We are delighted to support these two important projects to help improve the Abbey Gardens.
  “We are providing £3,765 to the Borough Council from funds we have raised to fully finance both of these projects.”
  For the replanting project opposite the Rose Garden, volunteer gardeners from the AGF planted flowers including ‘silver queen’ (Artemisia ludoviciana), Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’, Rudbeckia fulgida sullivantii and Purple Rain (Salvia verticillata) to restock the border. The AGF funds will also cover the cost of a commemorative plaque in the
herbaceous border to inform visitors about the project.
  Surplus plants purchased with the money were used to help replant the borders near the Holocaust Memorial Garden and the Mustow Street gate to the Abbey Gardens.
  The second project, which is ongoing, involves installing 44 oak posts to support climbing plants in the central bedding area.
  The funds include the planting of the Nathaniel Hodson clematis in memory of the originator of the Abbey Gardens. By 1820, he had transferred his personal collection of plants to the new botanic garden at the east of the churchyard, which was at the south eastern corner of the Abbey Grounds. He had to pay rent of £60 a year.
  The borough council is also providing new rambling roses to climb the oak support posts.
  Graham Maynard, Abbey Gardens park manager, said: “We are very grateful for this funding from the Abbey Gardens Friends and the work of their volunteer gardeners to help us enhance the Abbey Gardens which are treasured by so many local people and visitors.”

East Anglian Daily Times - Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Gardens expert helps recreate a ‘river of flowers’ on traffic island

Volunteers clearing and pruning on the Tollgate Triangle ready for the river of flowers in the summer.

Gardeners in Bury St Edmunds can be inspired by a cascade of geraniums down the Tollgate Triangle – inspired by Bressingham Gardens’ Adrian Bloom.

The gardener of 50 years was in Bury on Thursday to help volunteers who were working on recreating the eye-catching floral display for the third year running on the traffic island close to the Tollgate pub.
  Bury in Bloom’s Melanie Lesser invited Mr Bloom in 2015 to recreate his river of flowers from the iconic Bressingham Gardens in Norfolk.
  “I think this island certainly has attracted a lot of attention, which was one of the reasons we did it of course,” said Mr Bloom.
  “It’s called the river of flowers but in fact it’s a river of a particular plant. The plant is the geranium rozanne.”
  Geranium rozanne is a hardy plant that flowers for much of the year.
  Volunteers from Bury were on hand to help with pruning and weeding after the autumn and winter seasons.
  “To get everybody together and get this done in one fell swoop is the best way to get this done really otherwise it’s quite a big job,” he said.
  He described the plant as a “very famous and hardy geranium”.
  The finished product is quite
startling, with the Tollgate Triangle looking as though there is a river of flowers flowing down its slight slope.
  Mr Bloom said anyone visiting the island in the summer would “always find something of interest”.
  He said many of Thursday’s volunteers were experienced gardeners themselves.
  “I’m able to just tell them what’s the right thing to do at this time of year,” he said. “Pruning is quite important. It’s one of the reasons they’re here.”
  Speaking of Bury in Bloom, he added: “They’ve done a great job, I think, with the whole of that and what I was anxious to do was to show what a garden would look like – a year round garden. Obviously this is something that has relatively low maintenance for the council as well as individuals in their gardens but provides that year-round effect.”
  Bury in Bloom’s Melanie Lesser added she invited Mr Bloom to the town to find a suitable spot for the geranium rozanne after hearing him speak about the plant at Anglia in Bloom

East Anglian Daily Times - Friday, March 24, 2017

Park keeper unveils new eye catching kingly sculpture on his last day before retirement

The new sculpture of a crown in Bury St Edmunds, unveiled by Stephen Cable and David Notley, who is retiring from the West Suffolk councils’ parks and landscaping team.

Not many people get to unveil a sculpture on their last day before retirement, but David Notley did just that when he lifted the cover off a new piece of Bury St Edmunds history.

The 64-year-old unveiled a new sculpture called St Edmunds Crown, which celebrates a key part of the town’s history, on one of its major roundabouts.
  The statue has been paid for by Greene King and Bury in Bloom. The roundabout is also sponsored by the company and the crown sculpture mirrors their logo of a crown and arrows.
  For 64-year-old David, March 15 marked his last day after 42 years working for the parks and landscapes team at St Edmundsbury Borough Council.
  “It’s been enjoyable which is the reason I’ve been here so long,” he said. “I’ve had more laughs here than tears.” He said it came as a complete surprise to be asked to unveil the sculpture.
  It is positioned on the roundabout between Cullum Road and Nowton Road, meaning it will become a familiar site to visitors coming from Sudbury and Ipswich.
  “The crown is the emblem of the town but also the emblem of Greene King,” said Bury in Bloom’s Melanie Lesser.
Communications director Greg Sage from the brewery came to the opening and said while the company was now known across the country, it was keen to retain its community links in the town where it all began 218 years ago.
  “We’re very proud of our heritage in Bury St Edmunds,” he said. “The crown and arrows features in our logo along with the Bury St Edmunds name. We’re delighted to be part of this sculpture which is on the roundabout near our brewery. Many of our team members will drive past when they’re driving into work.”
  The sculpture is made of steel and willow and was created by Chevington artist Liz Cooke.
  She said it was “very exciting” to see her creation unveiled for the public to see.
  “I’m very happy,” she said. “I knew I wanted to do it with steel and willow. I loved doing the steel bit. That’s the hard structure. You’ve got the shape with the steel and adding the willow is like colouring it in.”
  The willow was grown by Lark Valley Willow on the meadows near Greene King. Children from South Lee and Hardwick primary schools attended the unveiling.

East Anglian Daily Times - Thursday, March 16, 2017

Roses from Compiegne for friends in Bury St Edmunds

Pictured left to right are Elizabeth Bailey, chairman of Friends of Compiègne; Julia Wakelam, Mayor of St Edmundsbury and President of Bury St Edmunds-Compiègne Twinning Association; Graham Maynard, the Abbey Gardens park manager and his team, with the roses from Compiègne which they have planted in the Abbey Gardens close to the Mustow Street entrance.

This year marks the 50th anni-versary of the twinning of Bury St Edmunds and Compiègne, in Northern France, and the Mayor of Compiègne has sent a gift of roses to Bury to mark the occasion.

The roses have being planted in the Abbey Gardens, near the Mustow Street entrance, and will be in flower in June.

In 1967 the mayors of the two towns signed a charter in which they stated that “they are honoured to link in a bond of friendship and will henceforth encourage the making of such linguistic, cultural, social and other links between the peoples of our two towns as may further their friendship and mutual understanding.”

The Friends of Compiègne meet in Bury on a regular basis and continue to promote the links.

For more information contact the chairman Elizabeth Bailey yeliabs@doctors.org.uk, tele-phone 07740 775456.

And the Friends sent a gift of roses to Compiègne – called “Continued Friendship”

Bury Mercury - Wednesday, January 25, 2017

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