Grassroots gardening in Wilmslow

Committee members, Hilary Hilton, Laurie Oatway, Paul Chilton and Franf McCarthy at Wilmslow High Sc

Committee members, Hilary Hilton, Laurie Oatway, Paul Chilton and Franf McCarthy at Wilmslow High for the Wilmslow Show - Credit: Archant

Wilmslow isn’t just about classy shops and fast cars, it’s also a garden of delights, writes Janet Reeder

Wilmslow St. Bartholomew's Parish Church

Wilmslow St. Bartholomew's Parish Church - Credit: Archant

At last year’s RHS In Bloom Awards, the town of Wilmslow struck gold and they are hoping to dazzle again this year with a theme of Greener Streets: Better Lives; Butterflies and Bees.

Spokesman Keith Harris said: ‘We are encouraging local businesses to grow pollinating plants that can attract bees and butterflies and to create wildlife havens and bug huts. We are working closely with schools and the council and, of course, we are hoping to repeat the success of last year when we won gold.’

The accolade of RHS North West In Bloom Gold Medal Award in ‘Best Large Town Category’, 2015 was the result of everyone from residents, shops and businesses, schools and churches and councils pulling together to create beautiful displays throughout the town.

And it’s not the only green-fingered project in town. Keith is part of Incredible Edible, a group which began planting edible plants in the town’s public spaces and then four years ago launched the In Bloom initiative.

Wilmslow Show

Wilmslow Show - Credit: Archant

‘We take over plots of land and turn them over to edible plants where people can help themselves,’ explains Keith.

‘There are over 27 plots in the town including plots outside the library, Deane Oaks Primary School, the Fulshaw WI plot is looking really great with a lovely mix of bee-friendly floral and edibles at Adlington Road.’

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Keith explains that herbs, brassicas and legumes work well in the communal areas. ‘With herbs it’s easy to just snip a bit off when you need them,’ he says.

In the weeks leading up to July’s Wilmslow in Bloom Awards, businesses have been busy bees placing planters and stocking plots in the town centre, while shops have been creating displays around the bees and butterfly theme...all of which adds up to a glorious sight. ‘All through the town you get beautiful displays - it’s certainly a joy to see,’ adds Keith.

Wilmslow Show

Wilmslow Show - Credit: Archant

Ian Baillie

Chairman of Friends of the Carrs

The Carrs gets its name from the Anglo Saxon for a wet place that has been cultivated. Formerly owned by the Boddington family and now owned by the local council it is not only a recreational area that attracts thousands of pleasure seekers in the summer but also a have n for wildlife.

Says Ian, Chairman of the Friends of the Carrs, the group set up to ensure that the area continues to flourish as an attractive outdoor space, ‘It is the natural aspect of the Carrs that has led to us calling it a country park.

‘It is 70 acres of land following the River Bollin from Wilmslow and continuing to Quarry Bank Mill. At the Wilmslow end there is a children’s playground, car park and in summer an ice cream van, then you come to a picnic area but the closer you come to Quarry Bank Mill it becomes more of a grassland and a rich source of flora and fauna.

‘Here you can find wild flowers and animals and we are trying to keep the river clean as we have fish coming up the Bollin as far as Quarry Bank Mill,’ reveals Ian.

‘The park is definitely important now with the expansion of Manchester Airport, the railways, trams and high speed rail link. We think we need to conserve this natural area.’

The friends are also flushed with success this month as they managed to persuade Wilmslow Town Council to sell off three car parking spaces so that a much-needed public toilet facility can be built in time for the school summer holidays.

Ian Baillie, Friends of the Carrs:

Frank McCarthy

Councillor and chair of Wilmslow Show

Every year Wilmslow shows off its horticultural prowess at its annual show and this year is no exception. July 10th was the date for the 2016 show which was held in the grounds of Wilmslow High School.

Says Show Chairman Frank McCarthy: ‘It’s the 104th show this year. It started at the end of 1897 by the Wilmslow Horticultural and Rose society and now it attracts between 6,000 and 7,000 people.

‘It has only been cancelled between WWI and WW2 and it was washed out twice. The show struggled for a while in the 1970s but in recent years its success has grown and grown.’

Frank puts its success in recent years down to the dedicated committee of volunteers who ensure that the show goes on every year - and a £10,000 cash injection from the Town Council.

‘I think it is the enthusiasm of the committee and then all the new things that have been added such as the classic car show and dog show, the trade stands and competitions that has broadened its appeal,’ he says.

‘Everyone comes together from the town council to the Rotary Club and on the day all of Wilmslow is there.’

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