Three years' ago a small group of volunteers, inspired by a love of their historic town and the beauty of the surrounding rolling downs, entered Marlborough in Bloom into the South West in Bloom competition. Since then the team has gone from strength to strength making Marlborough a beautiful place to live and work, encouraging wild-life by restoring and preserving the natural habitat of birds, bees, fish and fowl.
Marlborough has a number of parks in the town centre. The largest is Cooper's Meadow set on the south side of the River Kennet. It has a safe play area for young children, beautiful chestnut trees and willows, with an enclosed ancient water meadow as a centre piece which is part of a conservation grazing project. In summer, it is an idyllic spot for a picnic beside a swift flowing, clear, chalk stream with sheep grazing in the meadow beyond. If you are lucky, you may even spot a kingfisher or the rare water vole.
The theme for our campaign this year is bees. Honey bees are declining owing to the demise of wild-flower meadows and pesticide free forage on our farmlands. Bumblebees and solitary bees are discouraged by tidy gardens full of bedding plants and manicured lawns drenched with chemicals. Scientists have discovered that bees are most attracted by blue flowers and while this has influenced our choice to some extent, fragrance and structure are also important considerations because bees don't like double flowers.
This year our emphasis has been on perennial planting, herbs and vegetables. You will also see many wild flowers on display in our open spaces.