Sharp-eyed judges will be on the prowl on Monday as Colne defends its coveted “Best in Bloom” title.
The big day comes less than a month after Colne In Bloom volunteers were stunned to learn that their cash lifeline is being axed by Pendle Council, with plans predicted to cut financial assistance by as much as two thirds next year.
But for now, they are concentrating on last minute preparations in readiness for the horticultural inspection. North-West regional In Bloom judges will be looking at everything the town has to offer, from the natural beauty of a nature reserve to carefully manicured hanging baskets, so the volunteers who dedicate hours to the work are hoping their efforts will not go unrewarded.
They hope to impress with a series of bicycles along the route decorated with baskets of flowers to celebrate the arrival of the Tour of Britain Bike race in September. The blooms for the displays have been sponsored by XLCR.
The judging tour is set to start at another of Colne In Bloom’s supporters, Boundary Mill. Their next port of call will be a complete contrast as they take a walk in Greenfield Nature Reserve before they head off to see some of Colne’s youngest gardening enthusiasts when they visit Primet Academy Gardening Club members.
Stops are also planned at the Wallace Hartley garden in Burnley Road and Alkincoats Park with a walk through the stunning secret garden.
They also hope to visit the Citadel and the memorial garden dedicated to Colne teenager James Goodship, and have time to see the beer garden behind the Market Tavern. The gardens at Hartley Homes are also on the itinerary.
After a tour of Colne centre, bus and railway station the judges will have a buffet lunch at Primet Community Centre where they will meet the many volunteers, businesses and council workers who help to make Colne bloom.
The cut in cash is to finance an environmental improvements fund being established to replace “Grot Spot Funds”. Each councillor in Colne and District will be allocated £500 for a “horticultural fund” which they can do with as they wish.
Coun. Dorothy Lord – who is also chairman of Colne in Bloom – said: “Colne in Bloom is about a lot more than just the flowers, it’s about community involvement with schools and traders and local groups all pulling together for the benefit of the town. But if we have less money there will be fewer flowers, it’s as simple as that.”