Ottery to make South West in Bloom comeback a decade after town’s derelict factory caught judges’ eyes…

Ottery St Mary is gearing up to enter its first South West in Bloom competition in a decade after judges’ comments about Mill Street’s derelict factory let the town down.

Ottery in Bloom hopes the community will get behind the team to spruce up the town and keep it competition-ready for the judges’ visit in July.

Brian Nelson, Ottery in Bloom’s chairman, is keen the town’s competition entry marks 100 years of the Ottery St Mary Silver Band, which celebrates its centenary this year.

Volunteers hope the new look of Mill Street will boost the town’s 2020 South West in Bloom chances, and that the redevelopment of the Grade II mill, built in the late 1700’s, will be complete.

Mr Nelson said the last time the town entered the South West in Bloom competition was ten years ago, with judges visiting in the summer.

He said: “At the time, the judges, they came for half a day in July. One of the mentions was the derelict factory. It let us down, I would say.”


Ottery in Bloom shared this archive photo of Roger Giles, right, accepting a cup on behalf of the town for a former floral entry.
Photo: with permission.

As part of the judging criteria the town will be expected to keep a record of community involvement, highlighting how local groups and individuals have helped tend the floral displays.

Ottery in Bloom said it hoped to repay the community’s efforts by bringing home an award in the South West in Bloom competition.

Mr Nelson welcomed the help of youth groups and young people from Ottery.

The chairman said: “My thought is we have suffered from vandalism at the Land of Cannan. It seems to me to be the same group.

“If we could get that group who have done damage involved with this project, they would take ownership and take pride in it and if they see someone doing damage to it, they would stop it.”

The committee thanked Otter Nurseries for its support, tending plants started from seed by Ottery in Bloom volunteers, and Ottery Town Council for its annual help with costs.

Keith Spittlehouse, Ottery in Bloom coordinator, said: “We have to raise our own plants and have to provide our own compost and fertiliser and plan our own programme of watering.

“Thankfully our Ottery in Bloom team, with the grateful assistance of Otter Nurseries, undertakes the former and we get help from local groups and individuals with the latter.

“Ottery Town Council provides us with an annual grant which covers the additional costs.

“We are hopeful that this will be repaid by the prestige brought to the town should we gain an award.”

Mr Spittlehouse said the bloom group was keen for ideas for the 2020 entry and welcomed donations of plants, or items for the team to use.

He urged groups and individuals willing to help, to get in touch.

He said: “We are looking to organsiations and groups of individuals to back our efforts by helping to keep the town looking good.”

To help Ottery in Bloom, contact Keith Spittlehouse on 01404 812155, or Brian Nelson on 01404 813643.

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Photos of Ottery in Bloom’s planters: with permission.

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