Town at floral best in time for judging

Flowers in full bloom in Morpeth's award-winning Carlisle Park.
Flowers in full bloom in Morpeth's award-winning Carlisle Park.
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WORK has begun to make Morpeth look its blooming best in an important few months for the town.

A selection of flowers are already blossoming as the Northumbria in Bloom judges are coming to town on Tuesday for spring judging.

And new projects have got under way to help its Britain in Bloom bid this summer, including the transformation of a Stobhiil-based charity’s garden area.

They will also help Morpeth look lovely for the Olympic Torch relay, Queen’s Diamond Jubilee events and Fair Day.

New recycled plastic containers will be installed in the Market Place as the current structures have been suffering from wear and tear and the area’s nine schools – King Edward VI High School, Chantry and Newminster Middle Schools, Collingwood School and Media Arts College, All Saints, St Robert’s, Goosehill, Abbeyfields and Stobhillgate first schools – will be brightening them up.

A number of community groups are doing their bit to help the four main partners, which are Morpeth Town Council, Heighley Gate Nursery and Garden Centre, Morpeth and District Chamber of Trade and Northumberland County Council.

Town Council Clerk Gillian Turner said: “Everyone involved in the bloom bid is very excited to make the town look beautiful in what is going to be a fantastic year for the town.

“It’s a big team effort and we’re all working hard to make sure we have a fabulous route for the judges, with Carlisle Park looking as spectacular as always. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for sunshine on Tuesday.

“This would not be possible without contributions from volunteers and this year we have new planting and schemes all across the town. We can also rely on the Old Bakehouse Millennium Green to impress the judges.

“The new flower containers are being made by the same company that did the new seating in the Market Place and the children’s artwork will be digitally transferred to the panels through a special whiteboard.

“This means they won’t deteriorate like the current paintings which have been damaged by water.

“It’s nice being in these competitions to show people from other parts of the country how beautiful Morpeth is, but we do all this to give town residents a feelgood factor.

“It’s surprising how many people come to see us just to say how much they admire the tubs, displays and paintings.”

The MS Research and Relief Fund is putting in petal beds full of wildflowers, such as snapdragons, primrose, Californian bluebells and African daisies, in its garden which is currently lacking in colour. It is also creating a purple mountain aster mural which symbolises regeneration and hope, and players from Morpeth Rugby Club have dug out shingles and pebbles.

Morpeth Lions Club recently planted 40 trees in the William Turner Garden at Carlisle Park to kick off its 40th anniversary celebrations, Morpeth Soroptimists is doing another double helix display and there will be a river of snowdrops at High Stanners, wildflowers around St James’s Church and crocus planting at Deuchar Park and Leslie’s View.

Prisoners from HMP Northumberland will be making planters and doing gardening work over the summer and the Stobhillgate First School postcard has been printed to remind people about the competition.

Morpeth was put forward for the Best Town category in the Britain in Bloom event for three years running from 2007 to 2009. It received silver gilt awards, the second-best available, on all three occasions.

Now the bloom team is having another crack at the title after maintaining its regional dominance — Morpeth won the Northumbria in Bloom Best Town trophy for the sixth year in a row last year.

l A clean-up session is being held in the town on Sunday. Those who would like to take part need to assemble outside the Riverside Leisure Centre between 9.45am and 10am. Litter picks, gloves and refuse sacks will be available.