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April 2006
Silver Medal - Britain in Bloom 2005

April and the spring judging took place on Friday 7th. The village looked very good as we had a few warm days so a lot of the spring flowers started to bloom. Unlike previous 'Yorkshire in Bloom' competitions we will not receive any notification of our marks this time as they are combined with summer judging. We are at that point awarded a medal (bronze, silver, silver gilt or gold) as they did with the 'Britain in Bloom' last year and at flower shows such as Chelsea. An overall winner will then be announced. So with spring judging out of the way we now have to plan for summer.

What's been happening around the village
Several work small work parties were undertaken in the build up to the judges arriving. The car park was given a good tidy along with Brigitta's and the sub station. The team has also been around and litter picked, cleaned and swept various areas, which were looking a bit neglected. The Calderdale road sweeper team came on Thursday the 6th and as usual did a splendid job of the roads so many thanks once again to them. New posters have been sited around the village reflecting the competition and the village children produced some brilliant posters on dog fouling which have also been placed in notice boards.

Two plant tubs were at the request of residents removed from Duke Street as they were unfortunately being used as rubbish bins. This was very disappointing to the team in view of all the hard work that had gone into obtaining and planting them up. A new site for the planters is being looked into.

Don't forget the plant stall on the 28th April you'll find us in the High Street in front of the Old Newsagents, opposite to the entrance to Bluebell Walk - 10am until 2pm. We are still looking for any plant donations you may have, they can be left outside Church House in the centre of the village or give us a call, we'll be happy to collect them. As mentioned before we will again have a selection of vegetable, perennial plants and summer bedding for sale. All money raised on the day will be reinvested in the village.

If you are able to donate a few hours of your spare time in the future come along and we'll let you know when the next get together is, and what we're planning to do.

We're sure you see the 'Bloomers' wandering round the village, brush in hand looking for another spot to stick a geranium. More hands on board would make the work lighter. All our volunteers give their time freely and genuinely enjoy what they do, a little help would go a long way.

Jobs to do this month
The weather has again these last few weeks been ranging from wet and windy to dry and frosty. That doesn't go to say that we can't get an with jobs in the garden we just have to keep an ear out for the weather forecast.

Lets start with flowers first. To keep your spring bulbs in pristine condition don't forget to dead head them and give them a good feed. Whatever you do don't tie up or cut down the green leaves on your daffodils, as the plants need them once they stop flowering to aid photosynthesis so the bulbs bulk up for next year.

Roses, hedging and border plants all need a good feed to set them up for summer. With several hose pipe bans already in place you also need to look at ways to retain moisture so give your flowers beds a good thick mulch in case we do get a long dry summer. Water butts may be the answer too, we'll be keeping our eyes peeled for special offers on these and composters too. Now is the time to sow bright hardy annuals in borders where you want them to bloom. Gladioli, and there are some lovely colours about this year, should be planted in large groups. Start cutting your lawn using a high setting at first and lightly trim hedges but not if there are birds nesting in them.

In the greenhouse continue to sow summer bedding seeds and prick out into larger pots seedlings you have already started. Open vents on warm days to ensure the greenhouse does not over heat but close them at night. If you have planted cucumbers, tomatoes and chillies now is the time to place them into their final large pots or grow bags. Watch out for greenhouse pest such as red spider mite and whitefly and act immediately using an environmentally friendly insecticide. Don't forget to water and feed your plants regularly.

Out in the garden, if you have used cloches to warm up the soil you probably already have several crops underway. This month you need to finish planting out shallots and onion sets. Early potatoes can be earthed up around the emerging shoots for plant protection and now is the time to plant out main crop varieties. Carrot fly will be the main pest this month so keep you carrots covered or grow a variety that is resistant to attack. Sweetcorn should also be started off this month.

Whatever you are growing keep it covered if any late frosts are predicted.

Pest Control
Last month we talked about how ladybirds are the gardener's natural helper in pest control. Another beneficial bug is the lacewing. Their larvae are similar to ladybirds but the rather gruesomely use the dead bodies of their victims as a disguise by sticking them to their own skin. The adult is a lithe green creature about the size of a wasp and has large transparent wings and silver eyes. Attract them to your garden by planting nectar rich plants such as Alpine strawberries (on sale at the plant stall again this year) thyme and pot marigolds.

Next month we will be covering hover flies.

Jason Boom 881452
Roland Mier 885100