Despite the cancellation of the regional South & South East in Bloom Awards this year, the Cranleigh in Bloom team remained as active as possible during the lockdown, working hard to keep the village looking up to its usual high standard.
The Cranleigh in Bloom team has now submitted a portfolio to South & South East in Bloom for consideration in its desktop judging process.
In the first section of its portfolio, Cranleigh in Bloom focused on horticulture.
They explained that, throughout the autumn and winter, Cranleigh was filled with floral displays, with businesses participating too.
The team took orders for summer planting and experienced a high level of demand. Cranleigh Women’s Institute donated money towards planting some summer bulbs and troughs, to create a new addition to the High Street.
Sadly, the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic meant the grower could no longer guarantee delivery, so the team made the decision to cancel the orders and return all money to sponsors.
Cranleigh in Bloom also returned sponsorship money to Cranleigh Lions, to ensure they have as much money as possible available to support the local community throughout the pandemic.
The Lions have been selling plants donated by a local garden centre, raising more than £3,000 towards their efforts to support the Cranleigh community.
Cranleigh in Bloom put their grower, David, in touch with Will, the owner of Little Manor Service Station. Will is a keen supporter of Cranleigh in Bloom and wanted to help, so has been selling David’s plants from the garage. He also replaced all of his hanging baskets, which is a welcoming sight.
Will also provided plants to Sue who looks after the planting in Stocklund Square, who was able to replant the six large troughs there.
Phormiums were re-used from the winter display as the centrepiece surrounded by colourful bedding plants.
Throughout the village, the need for plants was evident and we saw many selling from their driveways; the gardens of Cranleigh have had so much care and attention during the lockdown!
Due to early restrictions, the team was not able to water or maintain the planting.
Volunteers from Cranleigh in Bloom have done what they can and many of the raised beds in the High Street are looking wonderful now.
The earlier decision to move away from annual planting in the raised beds has proved to be a good one for Cranleigh!.
Jane and her team have replanted two of the raised beds in Fountain Square recently, now there is easier access to water.
Turning to the environment, Cranleigh in Bloom explained in their portfolio that organised litter picking events were cancelled at the onset of the lockdown.
Sadly, the relaxation in lockdown measures has resulted in an increase in litter. Cranleigh Parish Council now spent two hours each weekday picking up litter, and volunteers in the community supplement this work each weekend.
Volunteers can also be seen collecting litter throughout the High Street, with organised litter picks restarting recently, soon to be held monthly.
During June, for 30 Days Wild, families borrowed the Cranleigh in Bloom litter pickers to raise awareness with the children of the importance of a litter-free environment.
Cranleigh in Bloom, in conjunction with Waverley Borough Council, have replaced the drinking taps on our historic fountain with connectors to enable volunteers to water the raised beds nearby.
In early Spring, Cranleigh in Bloom started to renovate some of the village benches, and four of the benches have been cleaned so far. The rest were to be done by the Men’s Sheds group, but until they are able to meet again, this project will be put on hold.
Cranleigh in Bloom took delivery of four new wooden benches for the village, after successfully applying for Section 106 monies. These new benches have been installed near the Cranleigh Arts Centre Garden and on the Common. They have arms which makes it easier for the less able to use and are sited so that nearby areas can be enjoyed by us all.
Volunteers have been able to look after community gardens in the village, working on their own or with one other person; the Hospital Garden, Centenary Garden and Art Centre Garden are all flourishing and well maintained.
In the Beryl Harvey Conservation field, there are three new volunteers, and they have recently been able to resume their monthly work parties. The area is large enough so that social distancing can be easily achieved.
Our Village Way wildflower area has flourished and for long periods grass has been left uncut by the Library and Art Centre, which has meant wildflowers have appeared!
The churchyard work parties have consisted of grass cutting and little else, but the natural beauty is unaffected and it remains a wildlife haven and a place of peace, so important for us all.
It has been very apparent that care for our environment is vital as we have all spent so much time at home and in the local area, Cranleigh is extremely fortunate in that respect, so much to enjoy on our doorstep.
Turning to the community, Cranleigh in Bloom explained that their success at the South & South East in Bloom Awards 2019 and national Britain in Bloom finals was celebrated with an annual tea party at Cranleigh Arts Centre.
Special prizes were awarded to the best hanging baskets and front gardens in the village.
Guest of honour was the Mayor of Waverley, Cllr Mary Foryszewski, a previous member of the Cranleigh in Bloom committee and a keen gardener.
For Remembrance Sunday in November, crafters made 1,000’s of red knitted or crochet poppies. These were put on the entrance to the Centenary Garden, around the Fountain and on bollards in the High Street and looked stunning!
Cranleigh in Bloom’s pom-pom tree became a snowball tree for winter, with white pom-poms as the leaves fell off.
A week before lockdown, Cranleigh in Bloom replaced the pom-poms with blue ones to support National Autism Awareness Month, along with painted pebbles with various message added to the base.
Cranleigh in Bloom received sponsorship from the Co-Op community fund of £250, intended to be used in the garden behind Smart Cranleigh for sensory planting.
Cranleigh Rocks continue to spread their magic, still finding them and leaving them for others to see.
As Cranleigh in Bloom looks to the future, they have to accept this may be very different to what Cranleigh in Bloom has achieved in the past, with no face-to-face committee meetings, no large gatherings such as Tea Parties, smaller work parties, and fewer floral displays.
But the commitment from Cranleigh in Bloom has not changed; the community involvement will continue and In Bloom remains a very important part of village life, helping to keep our village looking as good as possible.
In these difficult and uncertain times, we will help to support each other and our High Street, now and into the future.