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July 10th was a blooming big day for Marlborough in Bloom and its organisers.  With Marlborough looking blooming great, a blazing hot day set the scene for the visit by the SW Britain in Bloom judges who were guided around various parts of the town all day, often accompanied by the film crew filming for the BBC programme Britain in Bloom , to be shown next April. The round of judjing ended with an event in the the Town Hall at which the results of the local Garden Competition were also announced.

We have to wait patiently until October for the Town's result but the report and results of the local Garden Competiion are below:

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Anne Crawley writes: Marlborough has been chosen as one of the towns to be featured on next year's television series Britain in Bloom. You may have seen the television crews around town filming selected sites. They will visit three or four times over the next six weeks, leading up to Judging Day on Tuesday 10 July when the town will, we hope, be looking its blooming best.

One of our worst problems is litter and as former Chairman I am appealing to everyone to pick up three bits of litter on your way to the shops. This would make an enormous difference to the look of the town.

Plastic sweet wrappers and coffee cups that can end up in the Kennet are particularly worrying. And please don't use our flower displays as rubbish bins or cigarette ashtrays!

You will notice another great improvement in the floral displays in the Marlborough in Bloom planters this year. Thanks to a generous donation of £2000 from Tesco, we are able to have Tony Archer of Superior Plants, plant up, water and feed the troughs so that our volunteers can concentrate on weeding and dead-heading. Wiltshire Council have promised more help with keeping the town swept regularly

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A report by Mrs Margaret Rose for Tower and Town Magazine: 

The old Victorian Cemetery, which goes back to 1853, is on land donated by the Marquess of Ailesbury. It is widely considered to be an important and beautiful historical part of Marlborough Town and is referred to as a good example of a "garden cemetery" popular in the mid-19th C. The growth of cemetery friend groups all over the country is a sign that the public is keen to preserve and support conservation and environmental projects based in cemeteries and churchyards; after all they were originally designed as attractive places to visit.

2013       What first drew me to the Victorian Cemetery?  I think it has to be the magnificent Cedar of Lebanon which helps to give an air of grandeur, also the 581 gravestones with many local family and business names; some are grand monuments and headstones with iron railings, pronouncing how you were perceived in life and your status in death, many being past Mayors of Marlborough. The fact that a large part of the cemetery has been allowed to revert back to nature adds to its charm, with a profusion of snowdrops and daffodils in the spring. The exception is the Paupers Grave where a lone Sarcen Stone denotes the resting place of over 800 persons. For these poor souls, mainly from St. Luke's Workhouse, this was their common grave. The area now is just a large stretch of grass mowed regularly by the Marlborough Town Council (MTC).


The Friends of the Victorian Cemetery group started in 2014 with volunteers made up of Town Councillors and locals meeting then once a month on a Sunday morning helping to clear around graves. They tackled nettles, overgrown briars, and overgrown ivy, which were becoming top heavy and endangering stones, also painting the wrought iron gates and strimming . We were lucky enough to have the archaeologist Kim Wakeham come and talk to us about the history of the cemetery and it is always gives pleasure to discover familiar names or envisage past lives.   In 2014 we had a fallen old tree, and with MTC 's mechanical digger we used sculptured pieces to make a foxglove dell around the Paupers Grave which gives a living warmth and enhances that rather stark area.

2014   MTC invited ICCM (Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management) to give advice on the safety and wellbeing of the cemetery which will in the future need funding of over £50 000 to preserve some of the vulnerable stones. We are also grateful to the council for undertaking and paying for the cutting of a very overgrown yew hedge which now lets in the sunshine and opens up that side of the cemetery for wildlife to spread.

We support The Wiltshire Living Churchyard and attend their yearly seminars to meet like-minded groups and learn about different types of bees, wild flowers and lichens and also received the Bishop’s Award for Good Management for Wild Life.

2016  Two years ago we started tackling the area where Non-Conformists are buried. This was badly overgrown and we discovered some very stately graves and well-known names, including Mayor May who also owned the Tannery and lived on the Green. In May 2017 Merlin Court very kindly allowed us to have a fund-raising Tea Party to be able to buy some wild flowers and it has always been my ambition to introduce bee orchids which I have seen in other church yards. Over the years we have planted bluebells, fritillaries, daffodils, violets, cowslips and many others.

So where does this Heritage leave us? What is the aim of this small voluntary group The Friends of the Victorian cemetery who now meet on certain Mondays (the second Monday of every month 10-12am) or just pop in when the mood takes them?  With expert help we are hoping to create our own web site, and with Kim Wakeham’s help be able to make the cemetery's history more accessible to everyone.  

We can never turn the clock back to its former glory, but we can ensure that this beautiful Victorian Cemetery is a living space for wildlife and a peaceful environment for all to sit and think, not just about the living, but pay homage to the dead .


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Having won Gold last year, with the return of something like Spring weather the Marlborough Bloomers are gearing up for another successful Judging Day on Tuesday 10th July.
Steve Pascall, the new Chairman, has toured the High Street shops hoping to inspire them to fill the town with flowers.  "We have had an excellent response", said Steve.  "Everyone  is keen to join in; community  participation is very important and we are working hard to transform parks and open spaces, care for allotments, work with children and plant almost everything conceivable in likely and improbable places."
This week we have been approached by BBC2 with a view to having a slot in the television programme being broadcast at 6.30pm every day this week.  Starting in May, a television crew will track the efforts of volunteers to transform the town with flowers and, of course, enhance wildlife habitats and create a cleaner, greener environment.  Watch this space to see if we are chosen.
The picture illustrates the importance of community involvement.  We needed two strong young men to help move two of our flower troughs to the forecourt of Mistral on the High Street.  Within minutes, Waitrose Assistant Team Manager James Moody and Partner Jon Cooke had volunteered their help.  The photo shows the delighted Mistral staff Lesley Smith, Jilly Doyle and Jodi Cairns who have promised to weed and water their new acquisition.



Last but not least, local estate agent Jonathan Conning, Director of Henry George, has agreed to sponsor the Marlborough Gardening Competition for the  second year running.  Details will be circulated town wide so please enter your garden.  

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Following our elevation to the Champion of Champions class in the South West in Bloom Competition, Marlborough was awarded  GOLD in the main competition by judge Jon Wheatley, Chairman of SouthWest in Bloom.


Lord and Lady Fellowes, the Mayors of Torquay and Marlborough, Anne Crawley and Richard Beale at the Awards Ceremony

Jon reported,  "It was delight to walk around the many excellent horticultural and environment features that the Marlborough in Bloom group have developed over recent years.  You are congratulated on your GOLD award and excellent standards that you have achieved throughout the year.There is a very strong commitment to improvement and it was so interesting to see how the town council uses Bloom to deliver its collective services in most constructive manner which achieves many outcomes.  Above all we were impressed by the whole team approach and commitment of all involved.  You are a credit to the south west."

As if this were  not enough, six of our It's Your Neighbourhood entries received OUTSTANDING awards: Coopers Meadow, Marlborough College Gardens, Marlborough Community Orchard, The Merchants House Garden, Stonebridge Wild River Reserve, The Victorian Cemetery and The Waterfront Garden at Kennet Place.   Jon reported:"The excellent water meadows and Victorian cemetery are fine examples of IYN projects which have major influence on the overall Bloom entry.  The water  meadows along the River Kennet demonstrate how with vision and leadership the involvement of volunteers can be used to great effect and have long term impact upon a town."

His final comment was, "You should be congratulated on your excellent Portfolio, your wonderful hospitality, you really make Bloom fun.  One of the finest visits we have experienced."

Particular thanks go to Susan Wightman at Libanus Press. With text by Anne Crawley and photographs by Richard Beale, Anna Forbes, Charlotte Hitchmough, Nicola Salt and Richard Shaw, Susan has produced an outstanding Portfolio which is sent to the judges prior to their visit.  This year we were delighted to be awarded The West Country Tourist Board Trophy for The Best Judge's Portfolio.   As this covers the whole of the south west – Cornwall, Devon, Wiltshire and South Gloucestershire – this is a major  achievement.

Anne Crawley, Chairman of Marlborough in Bloom says: "It is wonderful that the dedication and love for our beautiful town has been recognised by these awards.  We will be presenting the certificates and trophies at the AGM on Tuesday 7th November at 6.30 p.m. In the Town Hall together with a display of the work of our volunteers and of the award winning portfolio."

mib gold 2017 1a

Some of the Marlborough in Bloom team celebrate on the Town Hall steps - photo courtesy of Nicola Salt

A full list of this year's excellent results can be read by clicking here.

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At 10 a.m. this morning Jon Wheatley, Chairman of South West in Bloom and Denise James, Secretary of South West in Bloom, senior judges from the South West in Bloom region start their tour of  Marlborough's Britain in Bloom entry for 2017.

This year Marlborough is up against some of the Premier League towns in the South West in the Champion of Champions section, competing against  Exeter, Truro and Portishead, and other towns with a history of successes in Britain in Bloom competitions.

The judges have a busy day ahead of them - they will visit the Merchant's House, Henry George, St Mary's Churchyard, the Green, Oxford Street, High Walls, the pubs in the Parade, the Marlborough Waterfront, Alma Place, St Peter's Church, Marlborough College and the Victorian Cemetery, and that's just before lunch!  They will see several butterfly themed shop window displays in the High Street, some shown here.   See also this article in Marlborough News Online


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"Butterflies Are Important” - that is the message from this year’s Marlborough in Bloom who have been working with Butterfly Conservation in local schools and have organised an art competition on the theme for the students at Marlborough St. Mary’s Primary School.  Marlborough News on Line published an article with examples of the entries.  Click here to view.

Slade graduate, professional painter and Shalbourne resident, Victoria Jinivizian, judged the competition said “I have been very impressed with the high standard of work. The range of interpretation is very creative.  It has been very difficult to pick winners."

The first place prizes went to Eva Stansby's painting in the Key Stage One category, and to Parker Wilson in Key Stage Two category for his butterfly made out of pages from an atlas.

 Pupils with runner-up places or with judge's commendations were Poppy Deane, Harvey Hepworth, Macy Manning-Rooney, Will Palmer, Tom Baker, Megan McGrath, Ruby Waters, Phoebe Smith, Jack Baker, Charlie O’Shaughnessy, Archie Guarneri, Spenser Whiting and Eleanor Holford-Wright.

 Prizes were donated by The White Horse Bookshop and the art work will be on display in High Street shop windows from July 10 in time for the Britain in Bloom judging day on July 13.

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Judging Day 21 June

On the hottest June day for forty years, Sean and Kena Magee, Wiltshire County Organisers for the National Gardens Scheme (NGS), visited Marlborough to judge the Marlborough in Bloom Garden Competition, accompanied by Jonathan Conning, Director of Henry George Estate Agents who have generously sponsored this event, and Anne Crawley, Chairman of Marlborough in Bloom.

The ten entries were remarkable for the very high standard of gardens to be found throughout the town. Highlights of the tour were The Lamb Inn and the Courtyard Garden in Militia Court.


The Lamb, 2016 winner of the South West in Bloom Best Pub Display in the South West, has a spectacular display of window boxes and mangers on the Parade frontage leading to a delightful courtyard ablaze with tubs and hanging baskets.

Militia Court is one of Marlborough's hidden treasures. At the end of a narrow alley at the west end of town is this immaculately presented courtyard garden.

Mel Jones' garden on the Green is an example of what can be achieved in a very short time. Since he moved into his rented flat in March, he has transformed his neglected, overgrown back patch into a delightful garden. This is work in progress, with a special award for Mel's hard work for the benefit of his neighbours – an ideal tenant.


The tour finished with a delicious afternoon tea at The Polly Tearooms, generously donated by owner Mrs Anne Clarke. Judge Sean Magee said, "We have been so delighted with the enthusiasm and care shown by the Marlborough gardeners we hope to come to the Merchant's Garden Open Gardens Day in 2018 with a view to including some more Marlborough gardens in the Wiltshire NGS".

Anne Crawley added, "We look forward to seeing them again in the MiB Garden Competition next year. I would like to thank all the gardeners for their hard work for this splendid contribution to the Marlborough in Bloom campaign."

Tha Garden Competition forms part of Marlborough in Bloom's entry into the Champion of Champions class in 2017. This will be judged on Thursday 13 July by the Chairman of South West in Bloom, Mr Jon Wheatley.

Our theme this year is Butterflies and shops are already planning their displays and the entries to the Children's Butterfly Art Competition at St Peter's and St Mary's primary schools will be in windows around the town to delight us all.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Anne Crawley on 01672 512317 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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For several years groups of Marlborough College boys have been working with Action for the River Kennet (ARK ) to improve and restore the banks of the River Kennet which flows through the College grounds.  An example of the bank restorattion work is the installation of hazel faggots, retained by chestnut stakes which serves to prevent erosion and provide a suitable environment for marginal plants to prosper.  This benefits the river by keeping the flow fast and clean and providing a variety of habitats for wildlife.





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Marlborough in Bloom is off to a flying start in 2017 with a number of local events scheduled to support the community effort in the town ahead of judging Day on July 13th .

This year we have the honour of entering in the Champion of Champions class, awarded only to winners in the previous year's competition. Our judge will be Jon Wheatley, Chair of South West in Bloom.

OUR THEME THIS YEAR IS BUTTERFLIES. To reflect this theme in this year's campaign we are working with Butterfly Conservation and local schools to help preserve these lovely creatures. Sadly, butterflies are far less common than they were 50 years ago. Since the 1940's, 97% of wildflower meadows have been lost. Seventy per cent of UK species have declined in occurrence since the 1970's.

Thanks to the generous sponsorship of local estate agent Henry George we are kicking off with the Marlborough in Bloom Gardening Competition. Open to gardens in Marlborough created and maintained by the owners (tho' some part time help is acceptable) , there are 5 categories: Best Garden, Best Courtyard Garden, Best Commercial Display, Best Containers/Hanging Baskets and Best Newcomer. Cups will be awarded to the Overall Winner, Best Garden & Best Courtyard Garden with prizes and certificates for other entries.

To enter, complete the form online at or pick up an entry form at Henry George Estate Agents, 46 Kingsbury Street, Marlborough SN8 1JE. Deadline for entries is Friday 12 May, judging on 21 June and some of the winners will be incorporated in the Judging Route in July.

Following their huge success with last year's bees, the pupils of Marlborough St Mary's CE VC Primary School are invited to to take part in a Family Art Competition to create a butterfly out of any medium – painting, sculpture, collage or crochet (wool and patterns available from Fair Isle). The winners will have their work displayed around the town to delight and amuse us all.

Our portfolio which gives the judges an overview of our work throughout the year is crucial to our success. I am therefore very happy to report that Libanus Press, Marlborough's stunning fine art publisher, has agreed to produce our 2017 edition.

Finally we were thrilled to learn that our application to the Tesco Bags of Help Grant Scheme has been successful. Customers can vote in the Tesco store on the Salisbury Road Business Park during May and June (we will be one of three projects); the project with the highest number of votes across the region will receive up to £5,000, the second placed project up to £2,000 and the third placed project £1,000 so please support us when you shop.

Waitrose has once again continued their support and customers can support us by posting their green token each time they shop. Last year this raised over £300 and we are very grateful for their


Community Action Days start in May. Please join us every Wednesday morning to tidy up the streets and garden the In Bloom tubs and boxes around the town. Meet at 10 am by the back entrance to Waitrose, armed with secateurs and gloves and help us to gain valuable points for community involvement.

This will be a challenging year for Marlborough in Bloom but I feel sure the townsfolk and businesses will rise to the occasion on Judging Day. We are going for gold in 2017, so let's make Marlborough blooming marvellous!"

Anne Crawley

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Make a purchase in Waitrose and receive a green token for each transaction.  Please use it to vote for Marlborough in Bloom.


This year we have been entered in the Champion of Champions class and will be judged by the Chairman  of South West in Bloom.

This is a great honour so please put your token in our slot and help our volunteers transform parks and open spaces, care for allotments,

work with children and groups with special needs and make Marlborough a greener, cleaner, safer place to live.

We're aiming for Gold but we need your help!

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With Judging Day only a few weeks away in July we need to roll up our sleeves and tidy up the town. Involving the community will gain us valuable points in the competition. We have received outstanding support from local businesses, now




3, 10,17, 24, 31 MAY

7, 14, 21, 28 JUNE

5, 12, 19 JULY


HiViz jackets and refreshments will be provided.

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This year Marlborough in Bloom is holding a Garden Competition, sponsored by Henry George, with gardens being judged in four categories, Best Garden, Best Courtyard Garden, Best Commercial Display and Best Containers or Hanging Baskets.

If you would like to enter your garden or floral display then please complete and return the Entry Form circulated by Henry George Estate Agents or download an entry form here.

Entries by Friday 12th May, Judging on 21st June and Results published on 30th June.

More details of judging criteria etc on the the Entry Form - click here.

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