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February 2006
THE PENNINE VILLAGE OF LUDDENDEN
Silver Medal - Britain in Bloom 2005

With February fast disappearing we now know that the spring judging of the village will take place in about 6 weeks time. The exact date is still to be advised to the in Bloom group but we can expect it to be in the last week of March or the first week of April. Hopefully the date will be known before the next newsletter is issued.

This year we can expect some stiff competition as several previous trophy winners are taking part, namely Darley, Kirkby Malzeard and Appleton Wiske. Villager's help is needed with you all planting out your tubs, pots and containers with spring colour and in keeping the village litter, weed and dog fouling free. So let's all help the village and give the opposition a run for their money.

What's been happening around the village
After sending out tenders for summer bedding we have placed an order to the value of 350 with Phoenix Nurseries on the Keighley Road near Ogden reservoir. We hope that this years 'Nellie Blooming BBQ' fund raiser will cover the cost of these plants, we'll advise you of the exact date of this event nearer the time. The plants when ready will be used for the tubs and planters around the village. If you want to support a local businesses, as well as our entry in Yorkshire in Bloom then give Phoenix a try this year.

Dates for the plants sales have been agreed, we'll be letting you know these soon. If you can help with plant donations then let us know. More spare plant pots would also be appreciated. Calderdale's Forestry Unit have been around the village this month, after assessing the public areas and getting the proper permission they have carried out work in many areas. Opening up areas to light and ensuring the health of our many fine trees.

Work parties have taken place in the last few weeks to tidy the riverbank path and level the area next to the churchyard in preparation of sowing wild grasses and flowers. Brigitta's garden, the car park and sub station have also been worked on in preparation for spring judging.

Work has also begun on an independent 'in bloom' web site which you visit via www.luddendeninbloom.com. Again any contributions to the site on fauna and flora issues will be most welcome.

Ada Brooks Memorial Trophy

For those who are new to the village this competition is about the house frontage with the best floral and visual impact. The judging will take place in summer. In 2001 Eddie McManus of Church Hill was the winner. A keen gardener all his life he was thrilled to win the trophy that year and his house in summer was always a mass of colour. Sadly a few weeks ago Eddie passed away. Our sympathy and thoughts go out to all his family and friends.

Jobs to do this month

In March the vegetable garden is in it's between period when it is still to cold for most crops unless they are protected by polythene, glass or fleece. So let's talk rhubarb. This is the best time of the year for this crop if forced under terracotta pots. The early blanched shoots when stewed with the zest of orange and served with a good dollop of ice cream or yoghurt makes you feel that summer is just around the corner. So buy or if you know someone with a plant get them to give you a rhubarb crown. Plant it in the garden with some well-rotted farmyard manure, cover it with a large pot and then wait. When the shoots are a reasonable length cut the off at the base and cook.

Delphiniums are a delight in any border and this month is the time to take cuttings before they grow to long. Choose firm shoots about 4inches (10cm) long, cut them off as near to the base as possible. Pot them up in compost after dipping the end in rooting powder about 4 cuttings to a pot. Cover with a clear plastic bag and place on a cool windowsill, cold frame or greenhouse and once rooted plant them up singly.

Now is the time to plant sweet peas in cold frames, green houses or cool windowsills. Use deep pots to aid root growth and don't forget to pinch out the main shoot when they are about 6 inches (15cm) tall.

You should also finish pruning roses and buddleias this month. Borders need to be forked over to loosen soil and add plenty of compost and manure. Roses, shrubs, trees and hedging also need a good sprinkling of fertiliser at this time of year.

If you have a greenhouse you now need to clean all the glazing inside and out. Bring compost and growing bags inside to warm them up before use.

March is the time to sow tomatoes, melons, chillies cauliflowers, leeks and herbs in warm or heated greenhouses. Outside under cloches you can sow beetroot, early carrots, broad beans, salad onions, peas, lettuce, cabbage, radish, parsnips and turnips. Due to the unpredictability of the weather and our closeness to the Pennines it is still too early to plant directly into the soil without some form of protection.

Finally...

Spring Watch

The BBC as they did last year are again asking adults and children to get involved this spring by looking out and recording their first sighting of Red tailed bumblebees, 7 spot Ladybirds, Peacock butterflies, Swifts, Hawthorn flowering and frogs and toad spawn in ponds. For more information visit their website on www.bbc.co.uk/springwatch. The TV program with Bill Oddie will again be on the air for a week in June.

Jason Boom 881452
Roland Mier 885100