Architecture and History > Church Grounds 2012
2012 Photo Journal & blog
This is a photo journal & blog detailing the work we are putting into our gardens in 2012
click here to see the blog & photo diary from 2011
2012 photo journal
2012 start with a bang as the Last Yew is felled
Following on from our success in 2011, the new year started with a bang on Saturday the 8th January.
Well more like a crack as the chainsaw took down in sections the remaining yew blocking out sunlight to the West Door and grounds. A jolly band cut down, logged and cut up the wood whilst selecting pieces to make into stools for the woodlands pathways, turned the greenery in woodchippings for the grounds then brushed up thoroughly around the Church and took photos for the website and Bath in Bloom record book.
This is stage one of the 2012 works planned for the West Side and the Dell so more to come. We were delighted that we were joined by more helpers including a family planning to move to Lansdown from Oxford and who asked if they could join in.
We are always looking for donations of bushes, ferns, plants to add to our growing planting programme to make St. Stephen's the colourful entry to Lansdown.
The 1000 plus bulbs we planted around the Harvest Festival time are breaking through and hopefully will be a bright start to the Spring - we planted daffodils, narcissi, bluebells, snowdrops and hyacinths so keep an eye open to see them coming through.
Glorious Spring flowers and an Appeal for your sponsorship !!
Since we reported in January we've had a few days of frost and a lot more days of warmth so our newly planted bulbs have burst into colour all around the church buildings. Daffodils, hyancinths, a few crocuses and some glorious tulips and we must thank Bath in Bloom and the BaNES gardens department for dropping off a further 150 bulbs which will add to next years array. We lost a few plants to the frost but nothing to worry about. Volunteers have dug over the West Door bed that will be our main project for this season's entry into Bath in Bloom and South West in Bloom. A major cutback of overgrown areas in the woodlands has taken place over the last couple of weeks which will encourage new growth - and did we find some rubbish, bottles, tins, wrappers and even a pram hood - Keep Britain Tidy is obviously lost on some people !
We have plans to put 84 flowering shrubs in the newly dug over gardens -plus we need to add more lavenders, and bushes to the front gardens where we have some gaps. We cashed in our Winners prize voucher (£25) and the plants are on display.
We are grateful to the growing number of people from the community who are mucking in with the church team to make things happen in the gardens.
Shortly we shall launch a "Sponser a Bush " appeal - we need to raise around £10 per plant for this years project - donations in memory or just to help the project along will be gratefully received - don't be shy help us continue to improve this community facility.
Bath in Bloom & South west in bloom 2012
Gardens to be judged on the 11th & 17th July.
For the second year running St. Stephen's has entered both Bath in Bloom and south West in Bloom - this year we will be judged in the Past Winners Section - yes last year in our first year of entry, we won the Places of Worship category and gained an Endeavour Award from South West in Bloom. Our merry band of community volunteers has built on last years remarkable turnaround of the previously neglected gardens and has added a new bed on the West Side of the building plus opened up that side to light by removing two old yew trees (yes we had full permission from the Local Authority !). We had a Daffodil Day Harvest Festival and this resulted in our planting a further 1200 daffodils, narcissi, crocuses, tulips and snowdrops. In the woods we also planted wild flower seeds given by the RHA to help us along. More plants have gone in and we are seeing the existing flower beds mature and we are getting near to our aim of colour all year around. We plan to plant a "Gold" tree on the East side to commemorate the Queen's Golden Jubilee this summer and we have a promise of garden bench for exhausted gardeners and the public at large !
Looking ahead we want to do more work on the West Side, further improve the Woodlands and makeover the Dell and we could do with a few more donations of time, plants and money to achieve these.
The two planters on the Lansdown Road island outside the church were to be the victims of local authority cutbacks but we have adopted them and with a gift of plants from BaNES we have planted same and a local neighbour will maintain them.
This is only possible due to the efforts of a small band of volunteers from the area without whom we would still be a neglected area - so many thanks to them and if you feel like lending a hand, giving us plants or money please do not hesitate to come forward and join us.
So wish us luck in this years competitions - we are encouraged by the wonderful appreciative comments from passersby and the community,and from very positive comments from weddings and other services held in the church.
A flurry of activity over June and July saw our band of volunteers under the Head Gardener - Christian - Nicky, Di, Carey, Ian, Mike, JG, Karl, Tony, Rick and Joy plus yours truly pruning, planting and weeding, tying back, strimming, grass cutting and yes I am afraid litter collecting to be ready for the judging for Bath in Bloom and then South West in Bloom both held in July. Our new bed on the West Side had responded well despite a trampling by lead thieves who stripped the West Porch (now repaired in composite !), our grass planted last year has thrived and our wild seeds were coming through. It is a real pleasure to get so many kind remarks from passers by and users of the church on the results of these voluntary efforts. Every year we want to add a new bed or planting till this is centre of peace and colour for the local community. It was planned to remove the planters off the island at the juncture of Lansdown Road and Richmond Road but we have adopted them and will with help from a neighbour plant and maintain these in the future. We would like to thank Bath Parks department for providing the plants this year and also the help we received for planting the planters we have at the rear of the church ( donation from Bath in Bloom).
We were pleased to welcome the Bath in Bloom judges on the 11th July, with our now trademark home made cakes and cold drinks supplied by Christian and Nicky - Ms Ainsley Ensom and Cllr Neil Butters spent time going through our efforts and objectives mentioning how well the passion flower has grown and commenting very favourably on our progress since 2011. Then on the 17th July Chairman of Bath in Bloom, Barry Cruse brought the South West judges who went through with a fine tooth-comb our efforts but still had time for our homemade cakes and drinks. After this Di, Nicky and Christian joined the reception lunch at the Guildhall to represent the volunteers. Back in the afternoon came lead judge Tracey Wilson with Barry to go through in more detail what the future plans were.
We will know by the middle of September how we have fared - this year we will be judged in the Past Winners category rather than Places of Worship.
Since then all the Friends of St. Stephen's Church have been mailed with a small in-house printed brochure to advise them of what is going on in the Gardens. Thanks to Karl for printing this document and making it so colourful. Mr & Mrs Wright have donated funds which have enabled us to acquire and plant a "Golden Tree" to celebrate the Queen's Golden Jubilee -this is an Indian Bean Tree or Catalpa Bignoniodes 'Aurea' for the professional gardeners amongst the readers. This we hope will blossom into a golden tribute to our monarch's reign. Thanks to Di for sourcing and Ian for the digging and planting and of course Anne and David for making it possible.
Rick and Joy Meopham have donated the long awaited bench with Rick installing same for which grateful thanks from us all - the judges loved it and within 24 hours a wedding party praised it as a real boon for the older attendees.
Finally we have a reasonable quote from a ground worker to dig out and level the Dell so we can further our plans and clear this area and we are grateful to the the Friends of St Stephen's who have agreed to fund this work.
Finally you will have noticed that at Jubilee time our Tower lights were Red, White and Blue and since the Olympics started until the Para- Olympics are over our Tower is a golden torch to congratulate all the athletes competing from all over the world, as a special good luck to Team GB and a real cheer for those winners from Bath and the West Country.
Can I make my usual plea for volunteers ( we will soon be welcoming Dr Boo McConnell as a helper), for plants or funding and if you wish to remember a loved one donations for bushes or benches will be gratefully received.
Following last years Daffodil Day (at Harvest Festival) we planted a further 1200 bulbs and we hope to add to these this year if more are donated.
Autumn Update - Blooming Marvellous!
It is hard to believe that less than two years ago the gardens of St. Stephen's were a bit of a mess, and that since February 2011 a small team of people volunteering from the Lansdown community have made such steps forward to make the beds, bushes and woodlands an area which gains daily positive
comments from passersby.
To be frank going in for Bath in Bloom and South West in Bloom Community Awards in 2011 was an act of pure bravado as our lawns were a little past it, our beds were overgrown and the whole area was darkened by an old and overgrown yew hedge. When the hedge came down and a local benefactor enabled us to replace the railings and re-turf the lawns we had made a start, and the bedding plants we put in made a brave show.
Winning a certificate from both Bath in Bloom and South West in Bloom in 2011 was just what we needed to inspire what was achieved in 2012.
A new West bed, removal of light blocking trees, and more and more planting plus 1200 new spring bulbs! We all now know that we are up against strong competition in both Judging standards and that there are literally 100's of entries in South West in Bloom so whilst we were hopeful this year that we had added improvements over the previous year we were a little jittery!
Well jitters over - we received from Bath in Bloom a GOLD in Category "Community Winners" and then last Thursday the 20th September we again received a "Thriving Certificate" for our community activities from South West in Bloom.
This year we had as a theme the Jubilee and Olympics to celebrate and our red, white and blue tubs at the main doors, plus our planting of a Jubilee Tree and the donation of our first bench in the gardens were welcomed at judging and we hope added to the Britishness of this year.
So it is a resounding thanks to those who have put in the planting, weeding, tree pruning, litter collecting, watering and brushing efforts this year, to those who donated funds for the planting and the bench and to those who have put an effort into working up our plans for next year which include work on
the Dell and further gardens on the West Side. As mentioned before we have adopted the planters on the island where Lansdown and Richmond Roads join and they have been a colourful addition this year.
Anyone wishing to join the gardeners or make donations please contact us via the Church Office.
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