A Blooming Success

South and South East in Bloom Silver Gilt Award

Parish Council Chairman Una Stevens writes:

Displaying the SSEiB silver award
Displaying the SSEiB silver award

In late February, I received a phone call from Susan Smith, a trustee of South and South East in Bloom (SSEiB). Having read our parish website, she felt that the achievements of the Parish fitted very well with the South & South East in Bloom campaign. She emphasised that the campaign is much broader than seasonal floral displays, but that very important criteria include sustainable plantings of trees, shrubs, perennials and bulbs. The competition, sponsored by Southern Water, also features sections on Environmental Responsibility and Community Participation.

I presented the idea at our next Parish Council meeting on the 5th March. It was decided that we should enter. Roger, my husband, and I immediately set about photographing the Parish from the Spring throughout the Summer, to record the amazingly beautiful scenes we can enjoy in our open spaces and woods, on our verges, as well as in our gardens.

Judging for us took place on the morning of the 18th July. Thanks to Head Teacher Allison Driver, we were able to begin the judging with an illustrated presentation, entitled “Links”, which I gave in the School Hall. Then it was over to the children, as four pupils, Hiba Hossain, Fraser Hemmings, Jack Kirby and Tom Rolfe proudly escorted the judges to their allotments, which they maintain with the help of a local grandmother, Della Jones.

Roger and I then took the judges on a tour of the Parish, talking to some of our very keen gardeners, visiting Beckett’s Nursery and Shawford Down, where we discussed Project Flowerbuzz, the plan to create a wildflower meadow and community orchard at the base of the Down, adjacent to the railway station. We walked along a part of the Itchen Navigation towpath and looked at the Bridge Inn’s floral displays. We then drove to the Memorial Playing Field and the Queen Elizabeth II Playing Field in Compton Street. The judges were fascinated to hear of all the historical links within our Parish to, amongst others, Oliver Cromwell and Captain Barnard. It was a very busy morning.

Compton students in their allotment

Shortly after our judging session, we were delighted to be invited to the Awards Ceremony on 11th September, hosted by Tunbridge Wells. Hundreds of participants were present. We were delighted to hear that the Parish of Compton and Shawford was to receive a silver-gilt award in the Large Village category. The Chairman of South and South East in Bloom, Peter Holman announced that it was extremely rare for a first time entrant to receive such a high award. In the summary section of our judging notes, it was stated “Compton and Shawford is truly a sustainable community, which quietly enhances the visitor experience, without the visitor being aware of the work that takes place behind the scenes. A great first time entry, with the potential to achieve gold.” That is exactly what I would like us to do. If you want to help achieve this exciting aim, please phone me on 712370, or email . In order to strive for a gold award, our planning needs to begin now.

I would particularly like to thank the following people for their support in this year’s competition:

Head Teacher Allison Driver and the children from All Saints’ School, Compton who escorted the judges, George Beckett, for all his knowledge about horticulture in our Parish and landscaping of the M3, Horticultural Society members Wendy and Peter Ashcroft, Penny and John Neyroud, who all spoke to the judges about their gardens and the historical heritage of their homes.