26th June 2020

Another month,  I guess if someone had said at the beginning of March that we would still be in this situation at the end of June we would have questioned that fact.  However, we are here, and likely to be in this new way of living for some time to come and we will continue to make the best of it.

All of our summer planting for this year is now done and is brightening the town and lifting spirits.  Many residents have commented that it’s good to see a touch of ‘normality’ and all of those volunteers who have worked so hard under such difficult circumstances are to be praised and thanked.  We have been very careful to keep to the rules and stay socially distanced – and we will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Plants have been difficult to come by this year – and have been expensive – so some of our Krafty volunteers have set to and made a very different display at the Loom garden in Hedingham Road, near to the hospital.  Have you seen it?  It’s a sight to behold!  All of the flowers and ‘produce’ are made from recyclable materials – including the scarecrow. It is just amazing what can be done with a plastic bottle and some glue and paint.  Please go and have a look and I’m sure you will agree that this garden is a great credit to the team.  If you think that the scarecrow looks a bit sad it is because he doesn’t have a name.  Poor thing doesn’t like being called ‘it’ or ‘that thing’ so he/she really needs a proper identity.  Nicky has arranged a competition for children up to age 11 to ‘name that scarecrow’.  There will be prizes in various age groups; competition runs to 22nd July so don’t leave it too late to enter, see our Facebook page or posters for information.  There may be some other competitions coming up too – perhaps something for adults as well as young people – about using recyclable materials to make an item to show.   Make the most of the summer weather to get out and enjoy all that Halstead has to offer.

The spitfire installation is still at Weavers’ Court and will be left to celebrate VJ day later in the summer.  Joan’s handiwork is still a sight to behold so if you haven’t seen it do go and have a look.  It’s just a shame that the environment of Weavers’ Court and the Mill is getting more and more unloved and dilapidated – not a great credit to the Town.

And it’s great that we are celebrating our long established bakery business – Hume’s of Halstead – with a bed in Halstead Public Gardens.  Joan and Chris have made a ‘birthday cake’ to celebrate Hume’s 60 years of trading!  Well done Joan and Chris, and what an achievement for Hume’s;  local people running local businesses is surely the way forward.  Anne and Dennis Hume have helped Halstead in Bloom for many, many years and it’s fitting that they should now have a sponsor sign.  It’s affixed to the new ‘big flowerpot’ at Sainsbury’s – you will see it if you have to queue to enter.  We thank all the Hume’s team for their continued support.

It is good news that the cafe near Solar that has been untenanted for so long is soon to re-open under new management.  It will be called the Corner Cafe and Steve, the new Manager is keen to support Halstead in Bloom.  Very many visitors ask about the former Riverside/Blacksmith’s Cafe so I’m sure that this new venue will be appreciated.

Another piece of good news to pass on is that Oliver, who manages our Facebook page, has just graduated from Cranfield  and is now an Executive Master of Business Administration (MBA).  How proud are we!!  Very well done Oliver, Congratulations from us all.

We are looking forward to 2021, and we will be producing a Halstead calendar again.  We thought that it should be bright and colourful, so will depict the beautiful flower displays and the wonderful wild flower areas in and around the Town.  If you have any suitable photos please do send them to me as soon as possible.  I’ve had quotes from a local printer for production, and we hope to get the calendar to print by mid-August.  I’d particularly like photos of rainbows over Halstead, so cameras at the ready for the sunshine and shower forecasts.

We are also hoping to plant our usual winter displays for winter and spring delight. East Anglian Van Hire have offered us use of a tail-lift vehicle to collect plants from Colne Valley nurseries at end of October so let’s hope that there isn’t a second uncontrollable spike of this virus infection and that we can go ahead as normal.

We are hoping that we may be able to offer some plants for sale when we are selling calendars, so if you are lifting and dividing planting in your garden this autumn and would be willing to donate please think of potting some up for us to sell and do let us know.

We have applied to be a charity partner with the national Co-op (the one in Colchester Road).  We won’t know if we have been successful until a bit later, but we are very grateful for the support we have had from them in the past.

The team is keen to have a meeting to catch up with all news so we have planned for an open air team meeting on Thursday 9th July, 7.30pm at Weavers’ Court (if the weather is not conducive to an open air meeting we will cancel and make another date).  You must bring your own chair, or be prepared to sit on the grass, and you will need to keep 2metres from anyone sitting alongside you.  If there is a ‘second row’ you will need to be at least 1M from the person in front.  There won’t be any refreshments so please bring your own drink if you need to.  We will keep the meeting as short as possible, so if you have anything that you think needs to be reported please pass it to me in writing at the start of the meeting and I will process.  We need to discuss Halstead’s entries for the Anglia in Bloom competition, and arrange for any photos that we will need to submit.  We already have the Spitfire as our ‘display on a theme’ entry, and Mill Green as our wild flower submission.   BDC have given us permission to enter the Public Gardens as ‘best local authority’ planting – we will need some colourful photos.  We need to have an entry for hanging baskets, so if you know of a particularly beautiful basket please ask the gardener if that could represent the gardeners of Halstead.  The Loom garden will be our ‘display using recyclable material’ but there are other categories that I’m sure we can enter – ‘best innovative planted container’? ‘Best area of sustainable planting?  If you’d like the full list of categories, please let me know.

Well, hopefully I will soon be able to produce some ‘minutes of a meeting’, but I guess that’s a case of ‘watch this space.


Thank you for all your interest and help to make Halstead bloom.  In the midst of all this awful situation the community spirit of Halstead shines through.  We do care for each other and for the Town. Keep smiling!!   All the best, stay safe and stay well.
Photos to: jaygrey@btinternet.com or to our Facebook page: halsteadinbloom.
Chairman: Margaret Eskins- 01787 269443. Plants/Planting: Joan Gibson 01787 473070
Secretary: Julia Smith 01787 461806/email jaygrey@btinternet.com.alsteadhH