The village of Draycott is located on the Derbyshire/Nottingham border. Although not a ‘picture postcard’ village, it does have the important industrial heritage of lace manufacture once common in the region and several grand industrial buildings remain standing as a marker of the village’s history..
Draycott in Bloom (DiB) was first established in 2014 following a successful entry into the East Midlands’ 2013 'It's Your Neighbourhood’ competition which generated enough enthusiasm within local residents to form the DiBbers group. The group’s aim was to take the next step and enter the East Midlands in Bloom competition for the first time in 2014.
Since then, the group has gone from strength to strength and is a real community initiative, bringing together all ages in true In Bloom style. The DiBbers now comprises a group of over 60 volunteers, ranging in age from young 2-3 year olds, who have their own special raised bed adopted by childminders on the new DiB allotment, to 80+ year olds. The group is also very well supported by Erewash Borough Council.
As Ali Bowley of Draycott in Bloom explains: “Not everyone does 'hands-on' gardening, but everyone has a skill to offer. We grow all our flowers from plug plants which are potted up in April.”
The group has been using Amberol’s self-watering planters since 2015, having heard about the self-watering products at their first EMiB seminar at Immingham in 2014.
“We very much liked the idea of self-watering containers, but our funding was very limited during the first year so we were determined to try and get sponsors for future years,” Ali explains. “We gained sponsorship from some local businesses and monies also came from various fundraising activities which took place throughout the year in the village such as our Scarecrow Festival and Open Gardens events. This enabled us to make our first large order from Amberol for a run of half barrier baskets which were erected on railings outside flats mainly occupied by elderly residents. This really brightened up a stretch of the main road running through the village.”
Since that time, Draycott in Bloom has gone on to add to their Amberol collection. “We have now purchased a four tiered planter for the centre of the village as well as five of the wood effect barrels,” adds Ali. “This year we have also ordered six cup and saucer hanging baskets and we are hoping that once they see how effective they look, more businesses will want to use them next year.”
Ali not only thinks that Amberol’s self-watering containers help create eye-catching displays, but she is impressed by their robust and hard-wearing properties. She says: “The beauty of Amberol products is that they look good year after year, as well as making the job of watering far easier. Because the containers create optimal conditions, the plants thrive as they seem to establish a better root system.
Draycott in Bloom describe Amberol products as:
Although only established a few years ago, the group has achieved significant success in the East Midlands in Bloom competition, gaining a silver gilt award in 2014 and 2015 in recognition of their hard work. They then progressed to a gold award in 2016 which they were delighted to receive.
Ali adds: “The residents of the village seem to really appreciate DiB's involvement with the floral displays. It is guaranteed that someone will make a positive comment or have a chat as you are out in the village planting or watering. Many new friendships have been struck up since the Draycott Village Fund/DiB groups have been formed, and I’m delighted to see the community spirit growing year on year.”
Like many Amberol customers, the DiB group has developed a good relationship with Amberol since they have been working together. Ali comments: “The customer service we've received has been absolutely first rate since our very first order. They even allow us to pick our order up direct from the factory as we are a local group and this saves us carriage costs.”
Ali would also be happy to endorse the company and its products to others. “We would highly recommend Amberol products to other groups as they allow superb floral displays, which are safe in the public domain, to flourish - and they make maintenance far easier than conventional containers. Although initially not cheap to buy, they do provide value for money as they will last for years and provide a vehicle for colourful displays to brighten any public spaces.”
Investing in the built environment costs money. Many of our customers have to balance the benefits of initiatives such as creating floral displays and keeping the streets tidy with shrinking budgets. So, is the money that is spent on community projects such as brightening community areas, entering Britain in Bloom and funding litter facilities and campaigns really worth it?
Friday 25th October was a very important date for many Britain in Bloom entrants up and down the country as it was the day that winners of the national Britain in Bloom awards were announced. 2019 marks the 55th year of the annual competition.