Getting Ready for 2015

Prairie Garden

The Oakham In Bloom Committee held their first meeting of 2015 on Tuesday 10 February at The Lord Nelson in Oakham.

After a busy Christmastime fundraising followed by a short winter break, the volunteers are raring to go!  We all love the challenges that Springtime brings and there was much to plan and discuss around our gardening projects and fundraising events and ideas.

At the meeting the committee confirmed Oakham will be entered into the East Midlands In Bloom competition for 2015 – this will be the highlight of the summer, recognising our volunteers’ year-round efforts and the support of residents and businesses to make Oakham a great place to live and visit.

The East Midlands judges will be hosted by the Oakham In Bloom committee, supported by local residents, businesses and dignitaries.  They will be taken on a tour of the town and be shown successful environmental and heritage projects that are undertaken by the many organisations in Oakham.  Further details about the judging route will be published as soon as they are available.

Also at the meeting, the committee discussed a number of gardening projects in progress and in the pipeline, including: a rework of the Spitfire bed on the bypass; partial replanting of the Prairie Garden and revamp of the Sensory Garden at the Library; possibilities for the Showground bypass roundabout; the Summer planting scheme for the Peacock; and, much more.

A key focus for the committee is fundraising and planning for many events is underway, including: a Quiz Night and Supper; Jumble Sale; a sunflower competition; Summer Raffle; collection boxes; and new areas for sponsorship.

The flowerbed on the large traffic island on Burley Road, near the Odd House pub, has come available for sponsorship – please contact us if you would like further details.

The monthly Lottery goes from strength-to-strength – the winning numbers for February’s draw were drawn at the meeting: 213, 63 and 92 won prizes and cheques are on the way to the winners.  How to join the Lottery >>

Maintenance for the Spitfire

Spitfire Maintenance 2014
Spitfire Maintenance 2014
John & Martin from Rutland Willows remove the Spitfire for maintenance

The Spitfire sculpture on the bypass is heading to the Rutland Willows workshop for a couple of weeks for some vital maintenance.

The Spitfire is in a vulnerable spot weather-wise and suffers all the elements through the year – John Shone and Martin Keeley will be working on the sculpture which, this year, requires significant repair.

Thanks to all who have donated to Oakham In Bloom to support this project, in particular the RAF Association who have again donated to the Spitfire project to enable us to continue the maintenance this year.

Oakham’s Spitfire Flying High

Oakham’s willow Spitfire sculpture, originally made for the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, has had its annual spring clean and repair!

John Shone of Rutland Willows, who designed and created the sculpture in 2010, regularly carries out maintenance with his son-in-law Martin Keeley to ensure the Spitfire continues to be pride of place in its bypass flowerbed.

“The Spitfire is still in excellent condition and this year needed a treatment of preservative and some of the structure replaced.” said John. “Next winter it may need a complete overhaul as winter can take its toll, especially as it is in such an open space along the roadside.”

Oakham In Bloom took over management of the Battle of Britain bed in 2011, by popular public demand, to ensure the Spitfire remained a long-term feature of Oakham’s floral and environmental displays.

And it’s not just the Spitfire that’s getting a revamp – the flowerbed itself is currently being transformed by volunteers from Wing Grange to become a wildflower bed.

Planting Change Planned for Spitfire

2013 will see a new planting scheme for the Spitfire flowerbed on the bypass, with a new wildflower bed replacing the roses.

Volunteers from Wing Grange, led by Jackie King, will be organising the project over the coming months.

Roses and other plants currently in the bed will be cared for and used for other Oakham In Bloom projects around the town.

Securing the Future of the Spitfire

The Battle of Britain bed on the bypass was such a talking point with visitors and residents that Oakham In Bloom were delighted to take on the long-term maintenance and funding from the RAF Association to keep the bed and the Spitfire sculpture.

With the Spitfire back in place following refurbishment by John Shone of Rutland Willows, Oakham In Bloom volunteers and Paint It & Plant It set to work on the planting.

The bed is now planted with roses and euonymous – sustainable plants to ensure longevity of the bed and also meet the environmental aims of Oakham In Bloom.

Designer Teresa Thompson described her inspiration: “The spiral design of planting represents the spinning of propellers, the red and yellow roses are for the flames of the Blitz, and the evergreen euonymus that define the pattern are for the fortitude of the British people.”