How dedicated gardeners are helping to keep Harborough bursting with colour amid the Covid-19 pandemic

The Market Harborough in Bloom volunteers are now gearing up for the East Midlands in Bloom competition in 2021 – after striking gold in last year’s tournament

Wednesday, 12th August 2020, 2:39 pm
Updated Wednesday, 12th August 2020, 2:40 pm
Market Harborough in Bloom volunteers.

A small band of dedicated gardeners are helping to keep Market Harborough bursting with colour and full of fragrance amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Market Harborough in Bloom volunteers emerged from the coronavirus lockdown in the middle of May to roll their sleeves up and get straight back down to work.

The group of up 15 green-fingered men and women are now already gearing up to storm the East Midlands in Bloom competition in 2021 – after striking gold in last year’s tournament.

Barbara Tallis, chair of Market Harborough in Bloom, said: “I’m very proud of all of our fantastic volunteers.

“They have done ever so well to come out of the lockdown back in May and put their talents and industry to excellent use for the good of the entire community again.”

She said they are regrouping brilliantly heading towards the autumn after enduring a tough spring and start to the summer.

“It’s been weird for us as it has for almost everyone else.

“We have a lot of volunteers over 70.

“So people very much came back at their own pace and when they felt comfortable,” said Barbara, a keen gardener for over 40 years.

“We closely studied Government guidance and carried out our own risk assessments.

“We came up with a set of regulations to protect ourselves and distributed them to all our volunteers.

“We have been wearing face masks, keeping our social distance and always having sanitiser on hand.

“Our people are using their own trowels, secateurs, forks and all their tools and cleaning them all the time.

“It’s a shame that we haven’t been able to stop for a cuppa as we always have done and it’s not been quite so social.

“But we’ve just had to forge on and make the best of a bad job.”

Barbara said they have been working hard on the stunning rose garden in Welland Park after putting in 70 new roses last winter.

They have also been planting on The Square in the town centre, around St Dionysius Church on the High Street and around the indoor market.

“We cancelled our watering contract at the start of the lockdown so we have had to do all our own watering as well.

“And that’s not always been easy – especially in this mini-heatwave!

“But our volunteers have risen to the challenge magnificently,” she said.

“We have been putting in a lot of hardy annuals and perennials because fantastic plants such as dahlias, petunias and geraniums have been so hard to get hold of.

“We are now planning to put in more plants on St Mary’s Road and at the top of the High Street.

“Plants, flowers and trees bring such a massive feelgood factor to Market Harborough and the area.

“People feel so much better to see all the colours and to enjoy the scents and smells as they walk through town.

“It’s a shame that the In Bloom competitions were cancelled this year but understandable.

“So now we’ll be targeting and preparing for next year’s contests.

“We will be carrying out a full planting programme this winter all being well and looking forward to a much brighter year in 2021.”