Judgement day for town’s floral bid

The stunning island beds of begonias and cineraria in Drumlanrig Square Gardens
The stunning island beds of begonias and cineraria in Drumlanrig Square Gardens

Having won the large town section in last year’s Floral Gateway competition, 2015 sees Hawick in the champion of champions category against the other individual winners, Melrose (large village), Morebattle (small village) and Ayton (wee village).

Hawick’s bid for floral recognition is made possible by the tireless work put in by representatives of the community council and Hawick in Bloom volunteers, as well as support from the council with their floral plantings and street cleaning.

To show what has been achieved this year, the judge is arriving on Wednesday and will be taken on a two-hour tour of the town. It is hoped that the public will lend their support by having tidy gardens with colour in containers and blooms in borders on the tour route.

Increased plantings this year have meant the purchase, all made possible by sponsorship and fund-raising, of almost 900 plants, comprising begonia semperflorens, begonia nonstop, surfinia petunias, cascading and bush lobelia, alyssum and French marigolds.

To make a bigger impact of colour in the town centre, planters have been concentrated at the Tower Knowe, Horse monument area and North Bridge Street. Some planters have been in use for several years and have been replaced by new ones, as well as six extras, bringing the total to 23. Added to these this year are seven half-barrels (courtesy of SBC), a second floral tree which takes 12 hanging baskets, a new three-tier planter and, as a trial, three trough rail planters at the Tower Knowe. Purchase of the planters and planting all by the 15-strong Hawick in Bloom volunteer group which includes two new people this year and a further four assist in planning, administration and fund-raising.

Community council chairowman Marion Short said: “From a personal point of view I don’t think I’ve seen the town looking so colourful and cheerful as it does this year and I hope townsfolk appreciate all the hard work and hours spent by this willing group of volunteers.”

SPONSORS AND SUPPORT

Bloom bid organisers have been amazed at the tremendous amount of sponsorship and community support they have received this year.

The business community has been exceptionally supportive with Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Harbo and Lidl all making donations of bags of compost (about 70 in total), while Wright’s Hardware donated compost and fertiliser.

Waverley Housing agreed to water our planters in North Bridge Street, Turnbull & Scott (engineers) hung the baskets on the two floral trees and will water them all summer, and several shops have said our volunteers can obtain water from their premises.

Telfer’s (blacksmiths) erected the new second floral tree on the A7 and assisted with the siting of the railing troughs at Tower Knowe.

Gavin Stevenson, of GLS, allowed access to a demolition site to obtain old bricks and rubble to use as ballast in the new planters and barrels and Armstrong’s Garage provided a lorry for transport from the site.

SBC facilitated the removal of the old planters, repositioning of existing ones and siting of the new ones.

With Hawick in Bloom supplying the plants, staff at the Walled Garden planted up all the baskets for the two large floral trees and the small one and others at Towerdykeside courtyard, all in their own time.

A new venture this year was seeking sponsors of planters and doations have been secured from Love Cashmere, Hawick Cashmere, Johnstons of Elgin, GLS Ltd, Emtelle, Hawick News, Lodge 493, Waverley Housing and Fiona Mackie. All the new Hawick in Bloom plaques on the planters have been provided as a donation from Wilton Signs. The judge will be met at Towerdykeside by representatives of the Hawick in Bloom volunteers and will be taken to see the displays at the town hall, the work undertaken by the group at the Round Close area and many plantings at the Tower Knowe including the new three-tier planter comprising a stunning array of surfinia petunias.

By car, the route goes via Allars Crescent to see the work by the volunteers and then on to Drumlanrig Square Gardens, the excellent effort by pupils of Drumlanrig Primary School, the Old Man’s Seat which now has a recently added bench named in memory of well-known local singer Viv Sharp and on to private gardens at Burnflat Brae and Crumhaughhill Road.

Next on the tour of the town is the Sandbed area to view the three council-planted displays with one of mixed geraniums, another of African marigolds interspersed with the silver leaved cineraria and the other of bright orange French marigolds, while pointing out colourful plantings at the launderette on the way to Wilton Lodge Park.

The judge will be taken to the museum where the new hard landscaping area and bedding displays should prove of great appeal. The eight island beds are outstanding using a fine combination of colours and plants: pink geraniums edged with alyssum; mixed nonstop begonias edged with Cambridge blue lobelia; red salvia interplanted with cineraria and edged with ageratum; begonia semperflorens; bedding dahlias edged with dark blue lobelia; a bed of white begonia semperflorens edged with blood red ones; and deep red nonstop begonias interplanted with French marigolds and edged with Cambridge blue lobelia. A teardrop-shaped island bed is stunning with mixed geraniums edged with cinerasia and the variegated abutilon as dot plants. The war memorial is in its usual outstanding colour thanks to individual groups of yellow and red nonstop begonias and blue ageratum. The whole area is a credit to the park workforce.

The £3.6million five-year Heritage Lottery/SBC-funded regeneration of Wilton Lodge Park will be fully explained to the town visitor, showing him the many improvements currently being undertaken such as the South African War Memorial, the shelter and the not-to-be-missed Walled Garden transformation.

There will then be visits to private gardens in the area, then it’s more touring parts of the town including floral tubs in Commercial Road by Harbo, the volunteers’ planters in North Bridge, heading up Wilton Hill to see the new floral tree and the private garden further on.

Making for the town, more private gardens will be viewed in Wilton Glebe and Wilton Hill, then on to the Johnstons of Elgin visitor centre, some private gardens in Mansfield Road and North Bridge Street, as well as the bloom group’s new planters, before taking in the area around the Horse monument and Trinity Gardens.

Wetherspoon’s beer garden will be visited, then it’s on to the Weensland allotments before the tour concludes with a look at private gardens at Heronhill Crescent, Heronhill Bank, Marmion Road and Bailleul Grove.

The community council and Hawick in Bloom hope the judge will view the town favourably having seen how the volunteers strive to provide colour throughout the year and how much support and sponsorship has been received from individuals and businesses all rallying round to make Hawick blooming beautiful and a pleasant place to live and work.

As well as the tour, the judge is presented with a full-colour brochure featuring text and photographs to complement Hawick’s Floral Gateway entry, this being designed by Lesley Fraser of ILF Imaging.