LETTER: 2011 is big year for Colne In Bloom

2011 is a very big year for the Colne in Bloom project.

I think everyone is aware 2010 was our most successful year yet - winners for the third time of the best large town in the North-West, winners also of the prestigious RHS gold medal and the crowning glory was to be nominated to represent the North-West in the Britain in Bloom finals.

When we started out seven years ago, we were all keen and enthusiastic but our horizons were moderate. We thought that one day we might win a prize. We never dared to anticipate the success we achieved for Colne last year. It was tremendous feeling.

I would liken last year’s achievements to when Colne Dynamoes won the FA Vase at Wembley and we saw thousands of loyal Colners make the pilgrimage down to the capital. It really is of that magnitude Colne is one of the top 66 towns, cities and villages in Britain. This really is a huge honour for Colne.

We have this year a huge task to make sure our town looks at its very best for both the North-West in Bloom judging and the Britain in Bloom judging in August. Whatever the results, we want everyone in Colne to be proud just as we were when Dynamoes achieved their success in 1988.

We have spent many hours over winter planning the floral displays. Sticking a few bedding plants in some baskets is no longer good enough. We have to have well thought out planting schemes and be able to demonstrate this to the judges.

So I would like to briefly outline our plans for the town this year. Starting from Burnley Road, we are planting up the advertising hoardings in front of the Lanlee business and the beds under the railway bridge with perennials. The planting we did here last year received very favourable comments from the judges.

The main street will again have the non-stop begonias under planted with the lysimachia but with a little extra twist of grasses growing through the begonias to give height. This will be the theme from the Crown Hotel to the Surestart building. We will, of course, have the newly installed pole planters from the Crown to the war memorial included in this scheme. We are also in discussions with marketing people from Wetherspoons and the new owners of the Shepherds Arms to tie in with these themes.

We have two very novel themes around the war memorial. At the lower side next to Wallace Hartley’s bust, we will have a silhouette cut out of the Titanic and around it we have devised a planting scheme to represent the blue sea and the white of the icebergs. At the other side of the memorial, the guitar bed will have an organ keyboard planted out to form the keys and a drum kit made out of flower pots, also planted out.

The precinct, which will look superb with the new flagstones laid, will be planted out with a rainbow theme. We thought this would again show off the flower towers which gave such a good show last year and received so many favourable comments.

The bus station will have an emergency services theme to represent the fire service, ambulance service, police and lifeboats - we thought this to be appropriate with its proximity to the police and fire stations.

Earlier this year, we had a meeting with Phil Storey and Alison Goode from Pendle Leisure Trust. We suggested it might be a good idea for CIB to invite the BBC’s second longest running programme - Gardeners’ Question Time - to Colne. Phil thought it was a great idea, I applied to the BBC and we are now waiting for a reply.

It has been very pleasing to see many members of the public and small businesses make donations in gratitude for all the work we do to make Colne a brighter place, as well as Pendle Council’s Colne Committee, Colne Town Council, Barnfield Construction, XLCR Vehicle Management and Boundary Mill for substantial funding donations.

The Colne in Bloom effect is not only benefiting Colne but is now rippling through Pendle. Blacko and Trawden entered last year and this year will see Barnoldswick and Barrowford enter also. We have been very pleased to help and advise these new groups.

We are always happy to welcome new volunteers. Call Louise on 661236 for details of our work.

MICHAEL OSBORN

Priestfield Avenue, Colne