Two outstanding examples of successful community gardening are the Marlborough Waterfront Association and Action for the River Kennet which are entered this year as IYN's .
The skyline at the western end of the High Street is dominated by the medieval tower of St Peter's Church. Made redundant in the 1970's, it was rescued by the formation of a Trust to preserve it for community use. The Trust, together with a team of volunteers, has taken responsibility for keeping the churchyard clean, tidy and colourful. Trees are pruned and Wiltshire Council cuts the grass.
Just round the corner, River Park is a modern 1970's development. The gardens here reflect the changing styles of gardening over the past half century. There are beautifully manicured lawns adorned with dazzlings displays of geranium, begonia and lobelia. Topiary became fashionable again in the 90's and Number 43 has an impressive wall of pyracantha outlining the ground floor windows and stretching up to the first floor, its orange berries providing winter food for the birds. Opposite there is Peggy's wild-flower meadow in miniature, bedecked in Spring with snowdrops, daffodils and daisies, a haven for bees and birds. Further along, the Japanese Zen garden is delightful in its quiet simplicity.
This year we have joined forces with two local amenity groups who aims match those of South West in Bloom: Transition Marlborough and The Rubbish Collective.
The Permaculture Group of Transition Marlborough have been allocated three wooden tubs: two outside the RSPCA shop on the High Street and one opposite Pino's restaurant.
Members want to demonstrate how to integrate flowers and vegetables in small spaces to attract bees, and have been busy raising the appropriate edible plants in time to be planted out by the end of May. They have now transplanted shade-loving edibles including Swiss chard, fennel, purslane and wild strawberries into the tubs outside the RSPCA shop.
They have planted climbing Italian Borlotti beans, sunflowers, borage, Swiss chard, nasturtium and English marigold in the sunny tub opposite Pino's restaurant. All these plants will be sustained organically throughout the season. This means that they will not be using any chemical fertilisers or pesticides, but rather Milly and Barney's wonderfully nutritious compost and Sam's smelly comfrey tea.
The Rubbish Collective
This is a recently formed group dedicated to regular Sunday morning sessions to litter pick and help us achieve a cleaner, greener town.