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Bury scoops gold at Britain in Bloom


Melanie Lesser and supporters outside Bury in Bloom sponsor Greene King with the gold Britain in Bloom award

Bury St Edmunds scooped gold for its floral prowess in the Britain in Bloom competition.

Bury received the national accolade in the large town category after the Abbey Gardens and the ‘river of flowers’ display at Tollgate triangle impressed the judges.

The town made it through to the national competition after winning Anglia in Bloom last year.

Melanie Lesser, Bury in Bloom co-ordinator, who attended the awards ceremony in Belfast on Friday, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have received gold.

“We were up against tough competition and Perth won (the category). I must thank the sponsors especially Greene King, volunteers and the whole town, which got behind us. The atmosphere on judging day was fantastic with everyone smiling and saying hello.”

Britain in Bloom judges Rae Beckwith and James Cordingley visited Bury on July 31.

They praised the ‘high level of commitment’ of those involved, the ‘outstanding’ display in the Abbey Gardens and a flower bed at the end of St Andrew’s Street was ‘a credit to all concerned’.

They also highlighted an appearance by author and actress Hatty Ashton, who gave a ‘surprise’ performance at the statue of St Edmund.

Bury Free Press, Friday, October 26, 2018


Britain in Bloom judges come to Bury St Edmunds


Judges from Britain in Bloom visited the Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmunds. From left, Rebecca Davis, Rae Beckwith, Margaret Marks, Damien Parker, Melanie Lesser and James Cordingley

Judges of the prestigious Britain in Bloom competition visited Bury St Edmunds yesterday to see the town’s floral decoration.

The town scooped a host of awards for its outstanding floral displays at last year’s Anglia in Bloom competition, including best overall entry and best large town, which meant it was entered into the national competition.

Judges enjoyed a tour of the town, which included Abbey Gardens, Angel Hill, Churchgate Street, and the Cornhill.

Yesterday’s visit followed a tour of Bury from the Anglia in Bloom judges on Tuesday, July 17.

Melanie Lesser, Bury in Bloom co-ordinator, said: “It was a pleasure to show the judges around the town, all the volunteers and St Edmundsbury staff involved have worked so hard to keep the hanging baskets and planting around the town looking so good.”

The Anglia in Bloom award ceremony will be held at The Apex on September 12.

East Anglian Daily Times, Wednesday, August 1, 2018


Blooming beautiful displays of flowers and plants judged


Anglia in Bloom judges arrive in Bury St Edmunds to tour the town’s flower displays

Anglia in Bloom judges landed in Bury St Edmunds on Tuesday to judge the town’s Bury in Bloom flowers, gardens and plants.

Melanie Lesser, Bury in Bloom co-ordinator said: “I’m feeling positive about Britain in Bloom. We would like some rain, though. The judges loved the children at Tollgate Primary – they said they were so enthusiastic and that their planting scheme was fantastic.”

Britain in Bloom will be judged on July 31.

The Anglia in Bloom award ceremony is being hosted at the Apex on September 12.

Bury Free Press, Friday, July 20, 2018


Field of hand-made poppies will appeal to recycling fans


Gatehouse clients and staff at the workshop with Max Weatherby and Melanie Lesser

Eye-catching poppies created from recycled plastic bags, tin cans and fabric have gone on display in the Abbey Gardens, in Bury St Edmunds.

Bury in Bloom commissioned The Crafty Foxes to run poppy-making workshops in schools, West Suffolk College, at a Scout group and Gatehouse’s dementia hub. Now, a field of the individually-named blooms has been created alongside the World War One bicycle display by Trudie Edmunds.

Hawksmoor Investment Management, of Northgate Street, sponsored the project.

Bury Free Press, Friday, July 13, 2018


Handmade poppies to go on display


Pictured with the poppies, from left, are Melanie Lesser, Bury in Bloom co-ordinator, with Michelle Freeman from The Crafty Foxes and Max Weatherby, from sponsors Hawksmoor Investment Management

Poppies created at workshops run by The Crafty Foxes group, in Bury St Edmunds, are to go on display in the town’s Abbey Gardens.

The workshops have been run by Michelle Freeman with groups around the town including primary and middle schools, the West Suffolk College, a scout group and Gatehouse the Dementia Hub.

There will be a field of poppies where the World War 1 bicycle by Trudi Edmunds is on display in the gardens and each poppy has been named so all that participated can see their poppy in the field of flowers.

They have been made from waterproof recycled materials.

Hawksmoor Investment Management sponsored the project and their investment manager, Max Weatherby, joined the workshop at Gatehouse to make poppies from recycled carrier bags. Pictures of the poppies will also be on bollards on the Anglia in Bloom and Britain in Bloom judging routes.

East Anglian Daily Times, Friday, July 13, 2018


Woodturners produce finials for Abbey Gardens posts


From left: David Griggs, Bury Wood Turners, Rebecca Davis, St Edmundsbury Borough Council horticultural officer, Vic Turner, Bury Wood Turners, Melanie Lesser, Bury in Bloom coordinator, Ron Davis, Bury Wood Turners and Adrian Hall, Abbey Gardens park manager.

A group of woodturners from Bury St Edmunds have produced 44 oak finials for the new posts in the town’s beautiful Abbey Gardens.

The Bury Woodturning Club were approached by Rebecca Davies, St Edmundsbury Borough Council horticultural officer, to see if they would be interested in the project of replacing the old rotten posts in the gardens.

Club members volunteered to make the finials and they have now been installed on the posts, and new and existing climbing roses will be trained to grow up the posts and along the wires which run in between.

The club has also produced two plaques, which will be installed to inform visitors to the gardens about its involvement with the project.

Mrs Davis said: “We are delighted with the finials, they have put the finishing touch to the posts.

“The woodturners have done a superb job of ensuring the 44 finials match in size and shape.”

East Anglian Daily Times, Wednesday, July 4, 2018


Plants and trees transform sensory garden


With the RHS finalist banner

The sensory garden, situated in the Abbey Gardens, in Bury St Edmunds, has been transformed with over 125 plants and two candyfloss trees.

It is part of a project initiated by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), Bury in Bloom, Abbey Gardens volunteers and staff and students from SENDAT (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Academy Trust) who are based at Angel Hill College.

The “Grey to Green” project has involved all stages of creating a garden from consultation and design to ground preparation and planting.

Plants were grown at the college and Bury in Bloom donated towards the scheme. B&Q provided a grow house and the RHS £500 for materials and plants.

RHS community outreach advisor Alison Findlay worked with the students to grow over 40 plants. Other plants came from Nowton Park Nursery, RHS Garden Wisley’s Plant Centre, Howards Nursery and Sandy Lane Nursery.

East Anglian Daily Times, Thursday, June 14, 2018


New bowser will help gardeners to water hard to reach areas


Sponsors with the water bowser in the Abbey Gardens - picture courtesy of Jo Sweetman

A new bowser for the Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmunds will help gardeners to water hard to reach areas.

They will be able to use the bowser to more easily access the banks of the River Lark, cathedral planters and areas near the ruins.

It has been purchased using donations and locality budgets from Bury in Bloom, county councillor Robert Everitt, town councillors Andrew Speed and Jo Rayner, Our Bury St Edmunds and the Abbey Gardens Friends.

Melanie Lesser, Bury in Bloom coordinator, said they want to ensure the summer displays look their best for Anglia and Britain in Bloom judges in July.

Bury Free Press, Friday, May 18, 2018


Tree dedicated to lost Suffolk Gunners


Around 30 people attended the re-dedication service on Angel Hill

A tree planted in memory of the Gunners from West Suffolk who died in the world wars has been officially dedicated and blessed.

Members of the Suffolk Royal Artillery Association, along with representatives from Bury in Bloom, St Edmundsbury Borough Council and Proscape, who together organised the purchasing and re-planting of the tree, gathered on Angel Hill for a special ceremony last Friday.

Canon Cedric Catton, who led the ceremony, said: “We’re remembering those who gave their tomorrow for our today. We’re remembering the families who have lost loved ones and those whose injuries have broken their lives and all who have served and serve today in the Royal Artillery to protect our nation.”

The new hornbeam tree is the third to be planted in the spot after two others died due to soil contamination. The space has since been cleaned and new soil added.

Melanie Lesser, from Bury in Bloom, said: “We’re delighted to have worked with Proscape and the borough council to replace the tree. We hope it will survive and do justice to all those Gunners who served, especially this year on the centenary of the end of the war.”

Matthew Plume, from Proscape, added: “The people who this tree commemorates did a lot more than we have. It’s an honour to be involved.”

Bury Free Press, Friday, May 18, 2018



Area set to bloom with patriotic colours

An area of Bury St Edmunds will be blooming with patriotic colours for the centenary of the end of the First World War thanks to the efforts of volunteers. Bury in Bloom joined forces with staff and clients from addiction rehabilitation centre Focus12 to sow wildflower seeds.

Colours included in the wildflower mix were the Union flag colours of red, white and blue. DIY store B&Q donated gardening gloves and sand to help with the seed-sowing and Alison Findlay, from the Royal Horticultural Society, offered advice and provided equipment.

Melanie Lesser, Bury in Bloom co-ordinator, said: “We hope the patriotic colours of the flowers will remind all who look at them that this year is the centenary of the end of World War One.”

Floral campaign group Bury in Bloom is appealing for entries to its “Senior Green Fingers”competition

The contest is open to nursing, care and residential homes as well as day care centres in Bury St Edmunds.

Bury in Bloom is looking for gardens and examples of gardening which benefit and involve residents and patients.

The contest is free to enter and everyone has the chance to win gardening vouchers with a top prize of £100.

Melanie Lesser, Bury in Bloom co-ordinator, said: “Our judges will come to visit at a pre-arranged time on Monday, July 2, and will be looking at any aspect of your garden you wish to show them.

“We want to encourage involvement across the town as we have the Britain in Bloom judges visiting on July 31 this year.”

Participants will be invited to an awards presentation and tea party at St Peter’s Nursing Home on August 7.

The contest is supported by locality budget funding from Cllrs Wayne Hailstone, Pat Warby and Richard Rout.

Download an entry form at www.buryinbloom.org.uk and email it to Melanie@buryinbloom.org.uk by Friday, May 18.

Bury Free Press


New flower bed for school


The new flower bed at Tollgate Primary

A new flower bed has been installed at a Bury St Edmunds primary school following a community project.

The project at Tollgate Primary, in Tollgate Lane, was coordinated by the town’s horticultural organisation Bury in Bloom and funding was provided by councillors Diane Hind and David Nettleton’s locality budgets.

Local contractor Proscape removed the old and rotting raised bed at the school and installed new sleepers made from recycled plastic to create an easy maintenance bed.

The new planting scheme – designed by garden designer Jane Hamblin – has been influenced by the colours and shapes of ‘The River of Flowers’ on the Tollgate triangle.

Pupils from Tollgate will be working with teacher David Morris to plant a variety of flowers in the new bed, and Anglia in Bloom and Britain in Boom judges will be visiting the school in the summer as part of the 2018 judging route.

East Anglain Daily Times - Wednesday, April 25, 2018


Daffodils are the draw as spring blooms


Nowton Park staff and volunteers and Realise Futures volunteers with Melanie Lesser, from Bury in Bloom

Spring could finally have sprung, after daffodils burst into full bloom across the region.

Stowlangtoft Hall Nursing Home residents have not let the wet weather stop them from getting outside to enjoy the daffodil display at their home, with staff supporting residents to explore the avenue of flowers in full bloom.

Julie Le Pine, deputy manager, said: “It is a pleasure to come to work each morning when greeted with an avenue of so many beautiful flowers.”

Gwen Cork, resident, said: “It was so lovely to see the gorgeous daffodils on our walk.”

The daffodil walks followed on from residents hosting a family of hatching chicks last week which caused great excitement, with residents spending hours looking at little beaks chipping away at egg shells.

Ruth French, director, said: “Our activities staff have excelled at providing some amazing spring time experiences for our residents which have provided real joy. All we need now is some warmer weather to enjoy spring properly.”


Left, Stowlangtoft Hall residents enjoying walks down the home’s avenue of daffodils. Right, Tim Davies, senior volunteer Suffolk Regiment Museum,and KC Jones, a volunteer

Meanwhile, the daffodils at Nowton Park are now quite the sight, with a sea of an estimated 30,000 blooms greeting visitors.

This week Bury in Bloom co-ordinator Melanie Lesser joined Nowton Park volunteers, who work with park ranger Dwayne Grey, and Realise Futures volunteers, who work with Phil Ewing at Nowton Park Nursery, to celebrate their work and the blooming flowers.

“The daffodils look absolutely terrific,” she said. “It was lovely to see so many of the volunteers at Nowton Park this week – without them the park wouldn’t be looking as fabulous as it does.”

In Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk Regiment’s Daffodil Wednesday event was a bit of a washout.

Tim Davies, senior volunteer at the Suffolk Regiment Museum, said a ‘practice’ Daffodil Wednesday held a week earlier had been a great success, with 74 people attending. However, extremely wet weather on the day itself had kept almost everyone away.

“It was tipping it down with rain all day. It was well and truly rained off,” he said, adding that it was hoped to hold it again next year.

“We will persevere until it works,” he said.

The regiment museum, at The Keep in Out Risbygate, has documents advertising daffodil events going back to 1935. Historically, Daffodil Sunday was the depot open day to show towns people what was behind the walls.

In those days, visitors were shown around the barracks, given the opportunity to shoot on the range and watched gymnastics and drill displays.

Bury Free Press - Friday, April 6, 2018


River of flowers tidied up


Volunteers are tidying up the River of Flowers on the Tollgate Triangle near the Tollgate pub.

Volunteers tidied up the ‘River of Flowers’ in Bury St Edmunds this week ahead of a visit from judges of a national horticultural competition.

The flower river, which is located on the Tollgate Triangle, near the Tollgate pub, was given a tidy up by Adrian Bloom, from Bressingham Gardens, and volunteers from Bury in Bloom – the town’s horticultural organisation.

The team removed dead leaves and tidied plants at the ‘river’ so that it will look its best for both the Anglia and Britain in Bloom judges, who will visit the town in the summer.

Bury St Edmunds scooped the top prize in last year’s Anglia in Bloom competition, which means the town has now been entered into this year’s national contest.

Now in its 54th year, Britain in Bloom pits rural villages and city centres against one another across a range of criteria including horticultural know-how and community engagement.

East Anglian Daily Times - Tuesday, April 3, 2018


Museum prepares for Daffodil Day


School children see how daffodils planted in October 2016 have flourished

An eye-catching swathe of yellow blooms will be in the spotlight on Daffodil Day in Bury St Edmunds next week.

Pupils from Sexton’s Manor and St Edmundsbury primary schools joined West Suffolk College students at the woods behind Suffolk Regiment Museum this week, ahead of the annual event on Wednesday.

Youngsters were able to see how the daf-fodils have grown since they were planted thanks to Bury in Bloom in October 2016 and to learn about the history of Suffolk Regiment’s Daffodil Day.

In keeping with tradition, the regiment museum will be open on the day.

Historically, when the site behind The Keep, in Out Risbygate, was the regimental depot, it opened its gates once a year to allow the public the chance to see how it operated and view the daffodils in the grounds.

Daffodil Day was a fixture in the calendar until 1959, when Suffolk Regiment amalgamated with the Royal Norfolk Regiment, but the tradition was revived in 2009.

East Anglian Daily Times - Friday, February 23, 2018


Plans to restore and renovate memorial to Victorian writer


The Ouida Memorial as it looks today.

Plans have been unveiled to restore and renovate a “tired looking” memorial in Bury St Edmunds which is situated near a busy junction.

It’s being spearheaded by the Bury Society, a charity which looks to care and preserve the past, present and future of the town, with the work being costed at over £6,000.

The Ouida Memorial is situated in Vinery Road at the junction with Out Westgate, Horringer Road and Petticoat Lane, and has fallen into disrepair.

Martyn Taylor, the chairman of the Bury Society said they will be donating £2,000 with councillor Patrick Chung adding £1,000 from his locality budget and a further £3,000 being applied for in grant money from Bury St Edmunds Town Council.

Once the work has been completed Bury in Bloom intend to plant flowers round the memorial and tidy up the footpath.

Melanie Lesser, its co-ordinator, said: “It’s become very tired looking and we want to use blue flowers to replicate the water trough at the bottom of the memorial which was once used as a place for dogs to drink.”

The history of the monument dates back to 1910 when it was unveiled by Lady Evelyn Guinness. Ouida was the childhood pronunciation of part of Maria Louise de la Rame’s name and she was born in 1839, in Union Terrace, in Hospital Road. The few occasions she saw her father he filled her head with romantic notions and this was to set her on a career in writing at the age of 18. Arriving in London she adopted the pen-name of Ouida and would write over 40 novels and books.

Mr Taylor said: “Money came easy as her work akin to Mills & Boon and Barbara Cartland was lapped up by Victorian society. Her spendthrift lifestyle in a London Hotel had her spending enormous sums on flowers alone whilst she entertained literary figures and politicians. She eventually moved to Italy where she welcomed all the local stray dogs to her villa.

“When she heard from her friend that there was a proposal to erect a plaque to her she said ‘This tomfoolery in Suffolk annoys me very much’ but anyway in 1907 it was put up on the gable end of Union Terrace in 1907 and is still there.

“In January 1908, aged 69, she died in Viareggio in abject poverty from pneumonia.”

East Anglian Daily Times - Friday, February 23, 2018


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