1st May 2020

Today I should have been writing up minutes for last night’s Halstead in Bloom April meeting – but obviously the meeting didn’t happen.  As I am getting withdrawal symptoms for writing minutes I thought I’d send you an update of news from the last month.

First of all – sponsorship.  Our sponsor year runs from 1st June, so in March/April each current sponsor is written to and asked if they wish to continue for another year.  ;Those letters were sent out just as the lockdown began, so the future is very uncertain for many of our local businesses.  I have to say, however, that some have already come back to us to say that they appreciate what we are trying to do, and will want to continue with their support.  Dale Hairdresser’s, T & N Developments, Halstead Townswomen’s Guild, Halstead Flower Club, Halstead Royal British Legion Club and Dr David Hessayon all pledged to sponsor for 20/21 and Dr. Hessayon also gave us a donation.  Keith Thorogood of Halstead Road Runners was due to run the London Marathon for HiB this year and we had paid his entry fee.  Keith won’t be able to take part in the rescheduled 2020 marathon but has given us back the sponsor money paid plus ‘a bit more’ and we are very grateful for this effort.  We will continue to display all sponsor signs including a new sign for Hume’s Bakers – who are celebrating 60 years of serving Halstead and District in 2020.

We also appreciate our ‘sponsors in kind’ and this year Peter Robertson, has offered to deliver any plants that we are able to put in.  We are also grateful to Bellway Homes for fully restoring the seed drill that has stood for many years at Sudbury Road and was in a sorry state.  We will be planting up this feature and will add a sponsor sign for Bellway Homes.

More good news – we have received a first payment from the Co-op Society for charity dividend donations. This amounted to £447.25 and was paid on 9th April.

We have had some expenditure this year on renewal of containers; in the light of last summer’s hot, dry weeks we are trying to change all main containers into the water retaining type.  We have 2 new containers for outside the bookie’s near to Town Bridge, 1 ‘big flower pot’ type container to replace the small trough at Sainsbury’s, 4 large barrels to replace the tired containers planted by Brownies in the Churchyard,  2 half barrels to replace the old troughs planted by Rainbows outside the Church Hall. 5 new Cup and Saucer hanging baskets for the Resource Centre and 2 black Cup and Saucer hanging baskets will replace the two stolen at the end of the summer 2019.  We will also be replacing the broken trough at the Butler Road sign and the one at Ronald Road.  We have a new trough to replace the rusting metal trough on the wall at Dale Hire.  Jason has advised us that there are two troughs on the railings in High Street that have split (been hit by a vehicle, probably) so those have had to be replaced – they were originally purchased by Halstead Town Council but HiB will replace them.  You may have noticed that the tubs sponsored by Dr. Hessayon outside the Day Centre have been removed; they were of the fibreglass over wood material and were installed by Halstead Town Council.  It was agreed with the Groundsmen, Town Clerk and Halstead in Bloom that they should be replaced as soon as possible, and therefore HiB has purchased new barrel type containers for this location.  The dated containers near to the litter bin outside The Bull will be replaced.    We still want to renew the containers in Butler Road Car Park, but the factory from which these will be purchased are still on lockdown.
Graham has refurbished the cart from Bluebridge; this will be installed and Annie will repaint.

It will soon be time to remove the winter bedding; this will be done by individuals working as part of their daily permitted exercise.  Plants will be offered free of charge to anyone who cares to take them as is our normal custom.  We won’t expect any payment, but of course we are always grateful for donations – if you would like to have some of the plants please speak to one of the HiB team, or let me know and we can arrange for some to be left for you.  We do intend to plant up for the summer.  We won’t have our usual supply as those plants come from Holland and they were not imported.  Plants will come from Bourne Brook Nurseries, Greenstead Green and Clive Baker has offered to deliver them to us, probably in small batches so there will be no sorting necessary.  Planting will be done by individuals or couples and we will adhere to strict social distancing rules.  There will be no hanging baskets in the town this year, although there may be a few in locations not on the main street.  Watering and maintenance will be done by individuals as best as can be achieved. I am afraid that the usual weeding/cutting back, etc. won’t be done this year, although Jason and Tim have been spraying in some areas and we are grateful for their help.

Joan has transmogrified the plane into a Spitfire, and this will be installed at Weavers’ Court together will some artwork of a tank and a destroyer to celebrate 75 years anniversary of VE Day, 8th May.  Please go and have a look if you can pass this way as part of your daily walk.

We had planned a plant stall – and have been growing on plants to sell – for Saturday 16th May.  At this time we are waiting to see if there will be any lifting in restrictions that will allow us to have this stall, planned for 16th May but possibly may take place a week later if permitted.  The stall will be on Market Hill – so in the open air – and again we will be very careful to abide by all rules on social distancing, etc.

Our usual Local Garden Competition had to be cancelled, but we are asking for photos of gardens that we may be able to include in our 2021 calendar.  We’ve had one front garden already submitted, and please feel free to pass on the request for photos to anyone you know who will have a garden they’d like to share with us all.  We would be pleased to have any photos for the calendar of the Halstead area.

Anglia in Bloom judging and RHS Britain in Bloom campaign were cancelled for 2020, but Anglia in Bloom is holding a ‘virtual’ campaign asking for photos to be submitted in various categories.  Halstead does intend to enter some photos in some categories – we can’t let a year go by with no certificates and trophies!! Please see the Anglia in Bloom website for details, and let us know if you or anyone you know has something we can enter in Halstead’s name.

The RHS has cancelled all flower shows for 2020, but they are putting virtual tours on their web site so that we can feast our eyes on new plants and varieties that we will be able to purchase next year.

Well, I hope that you’ve found this news update of interest. Please feel free to send it on to anyone you think may be interested.  Please stay safe and stay well – keep calm and stay blooming!!      Julia
ContactsMargaret Eskins Chairman.  01787 269443;  Julia Smith, Secretary. 0776 2587141 / 01787461806. e-mail jaygrey@btinternet.com; Joan Gibson, plants and planting. 01787 473070

www.halsteadinbloom.org.uk        Facebook: halsteadinbloom.    giveasyoulive.com/join/halstead-in-bloom
join membership of National Co-op (Colchester Road)   and note HiB as your preferred charity to donate via Co-op purchases.