Green fingers at the ready – it’s time for Tonbridge to bloom

The Mead School in Tunbridge Wells gave a professional level performance in the  ISA drama contests

THE gardening competition Tonbridge Town in Bloom is returning this month and is open to residents, businesses and community groups.

The horticultural event was held for the first time last year in a partnership between Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council and Coolings Nursery.

They are now looking to expand the categories – this year there will be a section for community gardens – and to generate a level of interest which will allow them to roll the campaign out across the whole borough.

The competition is free to enter, with categories ranging from individual pots to entire gardens.

Judging will take place over the first two weeks of July, followed by an awards ceremony for all entrants on July 28 at Coolings in Knockholt.

The panel of judges are not solely concerned with the current state of the garden or feature.

They are looking at a much wider range of factors including year-round interest, diversity of plants, special features and site difficulties.

The aim of the competition is to help transform the town into a better place to live and work – and to make residents and employees proud.

Coolings Chairman Paul Cooling says: ‘As a society we see, but don’t notice, the enormous contribution made by plants to our quality of life.

‘Tonbridge Town in Bloom plays a vital role in celebrating and directing focus on to the value of plants and their impact on our community.

‘Plants and flowers can add a great deal of pleasure to our lives. Wouldn’t it feel better to live in a place that has an award for being beautiful?’

Resident categories include best front garden, back garden, planted pot, trough or hanging basket and allotment.

Businesses are invited to enter for most attractive shop or office front, commercial garden, pot, trough and hanging basket.

Communities can now compete to win best environmentally friendly project and best ornamental garden.

Every household that takes part will receive a £5 Coolings voucher.

The closing date for entries is June 30. Entry forms can be downloaded at

The Garden of England

The Tonbridge postcode has more street and house names associated with plants than anywhere else in the country.

The Royal Mail has revealed: ‘Areas with a strong farming and/or rural heritage typically have a large proportion of flower and tree related addresses.

‘The quaint area of Tonbridge is by far the nation’s ‘Flora Hotspot’, with over 2,300 addresses spanning the TN postcode area.’

Mike Waller, a botanist with London Wildlife Trust, explained the reason for so many references, saying: ‘Plant-based names remind us of nature, and nature generally makes us feel good.

‘The colours and scents of flowers can be particularly evocative, reminding us of traditional cottage gardens and lazy
summer days.

Turning the park blue

Haysden Country Park’s Volunteer Group is planning to transform the Heusenstamm Friendship Wood by planting 2,000 native bluebell bulbs in the autumn.

Heusenstamm is a small town close to Frankfurt in Germany and twinned with Tonbridge. Their Friendship Circle has contributed to this project by providing funding for the bulbs in order to encourage more people to visit the wood.

After the great storm of 1987 the Friendship Circle donated 400 saplings of oak, lime, ash, hornbeam and wild cherry to create the area in the country park.

PICTURE: HELLO PETAL: An entry from St Augustine House on Priory Road last year

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