After many weeks of BigTidyUp days and several projects it was finally time to welcome the Britain in Bloom judges to Caistor and show them the result of all the hard work the volunteers had put in.
This year’s judges were Britain in Bloom Chairman Roger Burnett and Kate Dagnall, who were officially welcomed to the town by Caistor in Bloom Chairman Deborah Barker, treasurer Michael Galligan and members of the committee.
They were joined by volunteer Neil Birks, Mayor Carol Mackenzie and West Lindsey Deputy Chairman Roger Patterson.
Following a short presentation, the tour of the town began, both walking and by horse and carriage, visiting areas around Caistor that had really made an outstanding effort.
The MUC was once again covered in beautiful sponsored floral displays. Many more vibrant new planters that have been sponsored by local businesses and made by Waltham Herbs landscaping and nursery were a bright addition to the market Place making it positively glow with colour. Planting was undertaken by John Clark at Carr Lane Nurseries of Stallingborough.
The new hanging baskets in the Market Place were provided for the town courtesy of Caistor Town Council and Carr Lane Nurseries.
After walking along the sponsored beds on Plough Hill and through Bobs Lane, where the residents had put on a colourful display of hanging baskets and pots, it was on to South Street Park where Coun Mike Stopper informed the visitors of the many events and activities that take place in the Parks and described the extensive facilities at the Sports ground.
It was on then to the Police Station where judges met local police.
Travelling on to the refurbished bus shelter on Nettleton Road where a water butt has been installed to keep the Caistor and District Flower Clubs barrel planter watered sustainably, they were pleased to join Paddy and Murphy who pulled the beautifully adorned carriage on to the next stop.
This year, winners of the Best Front Garden were Cliff and Jill Rust at Aqua Dell.
Cliff happily explained the way the garden featured all seasons throughout the year, before being presented with his winners’ plaque by the judges.
A pause then at the Arts & Heritage Centre to view the lovely geranium-filled Systematic Print Management sponsored baskets and herb garden for use in the cafe, then it was on to the delightful elephant topiary in Fountain Street.
Westbrook Grove Ponds’ transformation was obvious for all to see with Its Your Neighbourhood new entrants Veronica and David Smith joined by Peter Sanderson showing the Nature Trail leaflet, Incredible Edible Caistor Herb Trail and advice on Wildflower Meadows and the newly created Jubilee Community Orchard.
Continuing on foot to the Parish Church of St Peter & St Paul, they first met Caistor Civic Society and Parochial Church Council member Don Morgan in the Wildlife area, where an interpretation board has been installed. Don and Keith Flunder explained the God’s Acre project at the rear of the Church and the many wildlife and wildflower areas in the town.
Then PCC member Pat Harris, together with the Rev Canon Ian Robinson, showed off the beautiful Church and wildflower charts.
The Copper Beech Tree, Autumn Cherry, Rowan and sorbose trees donated to the Church for National Tree Week each year are all thriving well.
A visit to Congregational Churchyard proved successful and raised favourable comments on the upkeep by both judges.
Onward to Caistor Methodist Church where the group heard about their open air services and rota for maintenance of the rose gardens and outdoor summer activities for schoolchildren.
The now established planted bank on North Kelsey Road, with sleepers sponsored by Breedon Aggregates, was exhibited as an ongoing project, with the pretty door feature enhancing the area further.
At the North Street- Brigg Road junction, the sustainable planting area has been added to with a generous continued maintenance budget from Cherry Valley as well as their Schools’ competition sponsorship.
Neil Birks was on hand to tell of his labours of love maintaining North Street.
The ever-abundant flowers, shrubs, trees and imaginative planting never ceases to give judges and visitors the Wow factor when calling at the Town Hall car park and Crocosmia Gardens. This was a partnership effort by Mark and Lauri Fox with Town Hall members and Caistor in Bloom working to refurbish the area.
Jim Landry and Simon Smoothey of WLDC gave details on their ever-improving rates for recycling and the strong contacts with the Streetforce team and Caistor in Bloom working together for a cleaner Caistor.
At the top of the ramp, where the small enclosed garden replaces nettles and weeds, is now a pretty, scented rose bed
On to the Post Office where Post Master Martin Sizer showed off the Incredible Edible Herb Trail leaflets and prizes, as well as explaining how the PO sells tickets to events and raffle tickets for fund raising.
Then it was back past the newly cleaned cenotaph as suggested by CiB and paid for through Caistor Town Council.
Last stop was the White Hart, where owner Rick Sandham had prepared Cherry Valley duck and several fish dishes both supplied by Cherry Valley and Sealord respectively.
“The judges gave a big thank you and were particularly impressed by the strong community spirit here in Caistor,” said Caistor in Bloom chairman Deborah Barker.
“The addition of a lovely water feature and more floral displays added a really nice touch to the end of the route.”
Volunteer Harry Minns was introduced to the judges and gave a vote of thanks to everyone who had worked to make Caistor look so special.
President Ernie Brown thanked the judges and said: “I am delighted to see so many members of the community from all ‘walks’ taking such an active role in helping to promote Caistor so well; the support has been tremendous.”
Caistor in Bloom Group now has to wait until October 16 for their results, which will be announced at an awards ceremony in Sunderland.
Caistor in Bloom started in May 2009 earning an impressive Silver Award after just 8 weeks.
Narrowly missing Silver Gilt in 2010, the group achieved the coveted GOLD award in 2011, 12, 13 and 14.
They also won their category in 2012, 13 and 14.