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Getting bloomin' well ready

Volunteer gardeners have been making hay while the sun shines and gearing up for Boston's annual in-bloom judging this summer.

But it's not all been about plants and flowers, although teams have been busy digging in to make areas of town look attractive.

The railway underpass has been given a lick of paint and Boston and South Holland Wood Carvers have been working on a tribute to Boston's fishing community. The unique carving, in Lincolnshire green oak, will be installed in the B&M garden and police station area.

Stonemason Richard King will revisit the memorial erected in Memorial Gardens in 2014 to commemorate the centenary of the beginning of the First World War to inscribe a face left blank to mark the centenary this year of the end of the Great War.

The town centre is being enhanced with new street furniture, including maintenance-free stainless steel benches, litter bins with a special feature to aid better disposal of cigarette ends and planters. The investment by Boston Big Local and Boston Town Area Committee (BTAC) has included funding a new three-man town maintenance team, who have been much in evidence and appreciated by members of the public. Self-watering planters have been provided thanks to BTAC, Boston in Bloom and Quinstone UK.

The judging route this time will include the Victorian Cemetery, where the Friends of Boston Cemetery, have been hard at work. This is a local wildlife site and historic park and garden and a new wetland feature has been developed.

After an absence of two years Boston West Academy will be visited by judges. Their superb environmental efforts have been recognised in previous years at the highest levels.

Other partnerships this year include Age UK, which is creating a new planting display outside Pensioner House, Boston Police Cadets, who are continuing to develop the knot garden in the Stump grounds, and Lincolnshire Community and Voluntary Service, which is promoting water-saving gardening.

Ongoing support has also been provided by the borough council's grounds team, Fydell House volunteer gardeners, the Community Payback team, HMP North Sea Camp and Thistles centre at Sutterton for adults with learning disabilities.

For 2018, and hopefully a fourth gold award, in-bloomers have been focusing on the centenary of the end of the First World War and the creation of more habitat for pollinating insects.

The judging route will take in the Victorian Cemetery, Central Park, Bargate and Memorial Gardens, Pescod Square and Strait Bargate, Market Place, St Botolph's Church (Stump) grounds, B&M green space, Beadsmans Lane at the side of the Guildhall and next-door Fydell House, Haven Bridge meadow, Freshney Way off Welland Road and Boston West Academy.

Businesses have displayed hanging baskets, created their own displays and are sponsoring bloom features. Householders along the route are being urged to meet a challenge to make their front gardens look appealing.

New for 2018 has been a Pub in Bloom competition, sponsored by The Coaching Inn Group (White Hart), encouraging pubs to decorate their frontages and their customer gardens.

Judges will see for the first time the cast aluminium fish which adorn the raised bed walls near St Botolph's footbridge.

Further planting has taken place in Central Park and, thanks to the Red Cross and BTAC, at Pilgrims' Patch.

The judges will also hear of a plan to create a maritime trail through Boston using 15 redundant navigational buoys. This project will be delivered with help from the Port of Boston, Transported, the Boston and South Holland arts organisation, and Boston Big Local.

Other initiatives over the past few months have included community orchards at Sheltons Field, Garfits Lane, Broadfield Lane, Burgess Pit and St Johns and a meadow area at Sheltons Field and Garfits Lane.

Thistles help plant police station raised beds Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window

Volunteers from Thistles plant up raised beds near the police station bordering the river. Bee and butterfly-friendly varieties have been planted including bugle, scabiosa, bergamot, wild marjoram, spotted deadnettle, verbena bonariensis and cranesbill. Most of the landscaping costs have been met by Boston Big Local.

Jan plants raised bed Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window

Jan Dawson, Fydell House head gardener, at work on the raised beds with other in-bloom volunteers.

Julian and blackbird Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window

Psst, Julian, you're being watched.

Town maintenance team Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window

The town maintenance team busy wearing their knees out - from left, Steve Phelps, Julian Beavis and Andrew Kelk.

Pilgrims Patch Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window

Jan Dawson, Paul Collingwood, John Bird and Alison Fairman, chairman of Boston in Bloom, plant ground cover on Pilgrims' Patch.

Asda underpass Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window

The town maintenance crew paint the underpass near Asda.

Raised bed Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window

Glorious - and the promise of a riot of colour from the foxgloves near the police station.

Wild garlic in the Victorian Cemetery Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window

Wild garlic running amok in the Victorian Cemetery - a haven for wildlife.

Burgess Pit wild flower meadow Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window

The wild flower meadow at Burgess Pit.

Memorial gardens Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window

The town maintenance team help give the Veterans' Way a makeover in Memorial Gardens. Picture courtesy of Boston in Bloom.