Britain in Bloom judges visit Birkenhead community garden

Judges from Britain in Bloom today visited a small plot of neglected land in Birkenhead that local residents have turned into a ‘blooming good’ community garden.

The Grange Neighbourhood Residents Association took over the land a couple of years ago and entered Britain in Bloom last year, gaining a Level 1 award. This is the lowest score given, usually to brand new community spaces that are just beginning to be cared for.

During the first visit by the Britain in Bloom judges last year, there were just a couple of large planters with bedding plants. But the residents haven’t stopped since and now there is a small children’s area, a hedge and flowering plants have been planted around the outside, and wood chip put down on the path.

The whole effect produces what looks like a well-loved and colourful corner that not so long ago was a place where flytipping was a common occurrence.

Local resident, Pauline Cocker MBE, speaking to one of the judges

Local resident, Jean Stapleton, said, “We love where we live! This was a horrible dumping ground for all sorts. So we got onto the council and they cleared it and helped us along the way. They were very good. People walk past every single day and say to us, ‘You’re doing a great job!’

“It’s kind of turned out to be a bit of a mental health project for the whole community – it makes everybody feel better and helps to create this community spirit.”

Roy Down, a Britain in Bloom Judge, said, “I’m on the corner of Grange Road West and Grange Mount looking at this amazing transformation of what I believe was an unloved green space. The transformation looks fantastic.

“There’s four beautiful planters here, full of colour and vibrance, there’s hedging and border plants. To me, this is ideally what a community entry should be all about, where local people have made a change in the area where they live.”

Local Cllr George Davies said, “I’m absolutely delighted with the community of this area, who designed and planted what we have here.” Looking forward to seeing the garden mature, he said, “When we see this in two or three years’ time, it’ll be a great ‘pocket park’. I think that is going to be absolutely lovely.

“It’ll be a great entrance to the new redevelopment that is taking place [on Grange Road West and Charing Cross] and I’m absolutely delighted on behalf of the residents that have put in all the effort. It’s absolutely beautiful.”

Birkenhead News asked the judge what level would be awarded for the community garden would be based on their visit. They couldn’t tell us until the results were announced later this year, but they said “Without giving too many secrets away. I don’t think it’ll be a level one again!”


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THe judges (left) speak to a council representative and local resident, Jean Stapleton
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