A message from Geoff Lomas, Chair of Menston In Bloom November 2020

‘As we enter another period of imposed restricted activity, the current and past officers have agreed that we will not be organising any work parties. We have reviewed the potential work program and with the exception of the Jam and Jelly hedge at Kirkland's we believe that we can delay any activity until the new year.’

Chairwomans review of 2019/2020

It all started so well.....

As has been the tradition of the last few years, the review of the year will follow the general headings as used by Yorkshire In Bloom. We had decided not to enter the Yorkshire in Bloom campaign this year, which, like so many things, did not take place.
However, despite the uncertainties and disruption caused by COVID 19, Menston in Bloom has been busy!

Horticultural achievement

Bulbs - we had a bumper bulb planting session in November, once again helped by the scouts. Over 2500 bulbs were planted in the Park, in the gyratory and in a number of flower beds, many donated to MIB as part of the Menston Bulb Donation scheme. Our thanks to the Library for being a collection point for the donations.
With more people walking in and around the village and using the Park during lockdown, our bulb planting efforts over the years has definitely been appreciated this year. Many people commented on the cheerful display.

Bedding - the spring bedding produced a colourful display which again was appreciated by many people as they walked around the village during the initial lockdown. We were not able to do much watering, so the warm, dry spring did take its toll on the pansies. We had some issues in sourcing bedding for the summer, but did manage to plant out all the large planters as usual. Thank you to all who helped in planting and maintaining the displays throughout the year.

Railway Garden - new shrubs have been planted to add variety and interest, but also to help create more shade, which should hopefully help to discourage the marestail.

Environmental responsibility

More native daffodils were planted in the gyratory, adding to the already impressive display in spring.

Community involvement

The COVID 19 restrictions have had quite an effect on the groups activities for a good deal of this year. Not only did we not meet for our weekly sessions for several months, our wonderful annual Strawberry Tea and Plant Sale did not take place.

However, we were able to resume some gardening sessions in late May in small groups, maintaining social distancing as per the guidelines. It has been lovely to get out and about in the fresh air!

As previously mentioned, the scouts once again helped us plant many more bulbs in the Park. Thank you!

The Festive Wreath Making session was held for a second year, with more people attending (and even more wanting too!). It was a great success, raising over £500. Huge thanks to Jo and Naomi for making the event so successful and great fun. Thanks also to Naomi for organising the use of the hall of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints once again.

A new project, working with the Preschool, saw new raised beds (custom-made by Ian Howe) installed outside the library. The intention is to work with the older children at the Preschool growing all sorts of veg. Just one session took place before lockdown, where the children chitted potatoes, planted red onions and broad beans. Anne Gadd has kept the project going throughout the year - watering, sowing, transplanting and generally looking after the planters and talking to anyone who passed by. Thank you Anne for all your hard work and enthusiasm, it’s a lovely project which I hope will continue in future.

Discussions with Climate Action Menston (CAM) have been ongoing, sharing information and knowledge. A joint project to plant a ‘Jam and Jelly’ hedge behind Kirklands are advancing. An application for funding for this project has been submitted to Bradford Council’s Cleaner Streets, Parks and Open Spaces Fund Shipley.

Following plans by the Parish Council to install fitness equipment in the Park, MIB joined with other interested village groups (including scouts, CAM, MCA) and formed a loose ‘Friends of Menston Park’ group, to try and ensure that any development in the park is done in consultation with as many Park users as possible. Again, this project is on hold, but we will continue to contribute to future discussions about all things ‘Park’.

I was interviewed by Martin Bijl for his Keeping it Green programme on Bradford Community Radio, talking about our work and our lovely village. It might still be available to listen to if you missed it!

MIB continue to contribute to the Community newsletter, which is distributed to all residents, and also keep the Parish Council website, menston.org, up to date with the groups activities.The Menston In Bloom Facebook page is also kept up to date, with news of workparties and campaigns.

So, it hasn’t been a normal year, but it’s not been too bad either!

This is my last Chairwoman's Review as, after 4 years, I am standing down and Geoff Lomas will be taking over as Chair. It has been a good few years for the group and I’m sure Geoff will do a great job for the next few.

I would like to especially thank Alan Elsegood and Cheryl Thornton, who are also stepping down from their roles as Treasurer and Secretary respectively. Both Alan and Cheryl have put in a great deal of time and effort into the smooth running of MIB for many years. Thank you!

And finally, I would like to thank everyone who has supported the group and all our activities, in whatever way, over the years. It has been a genuine pleasure to dig, plant, water, weed and, of course, chat and laugh with you all!