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Digging for Boston

The spades, forks, hoes and rakes have not really been rested since last year's Boston in Bloom campaign, but the national in-bloom launch was this week as part of National Gardening Week.

In Boston the in-bloom volunteers have been hard at it since gaining a gold award last summer, but warmer weather and brighter conditions have led to a sudden acceleration in effort to, hopefully, hang onto the gold this year.

Earlier this week about a dozen volunteers turned out to shift ten tonnes of top soil in just an hour-and-a-half to help raise some low spots in the urban wild flower meadow near the Haven Bridge.

The meadow was dug over and rubble removed last year and provided a riot of wild colour by the time the in-bloom judges from the Royal Horticultural Society appeared in the summer. The display lasted until early December.

The plan now is to raise some areas and re-seed them with a mixture of urban annuals and native annuals to encourage pollinating insects. This will provide a better view for motorists waiting at the traffic lights. Higher areas, already close to the road, have been left as they have naturally re-seeded from last year.

The top soil was donated and delivered thanks to Andy Dixon of Vere Bros (Contractors) Ltd of Boston.

The volunteers were encouraged and urged on by drivers and passengers in vehicles waiting for the lights to change on John Adams Way. It was pleasing to note that they were instantly recognised as "in-bloomers".

And yesterday, despite unpleasantly damp conditions in the morning, volunteers were out again preparing a strip of ground on the north side of the Stump.

The shaded area has been a problem. It has resisted several attempts to revive it and has had the appearance of being neglected and unloved, although it is not.

Angie Kisby, the Stump's fabric manager, asked the "in-bloomers" for help and advice. She joined the team in the rain turning over the moss-covered soil to prepare it for an urban bee mixture supplied free by local company Growing Wild.

Expert advice is that the seeds selected are for plants which will tolerate the challenging conditions.

Paul Collingwood fills barrows Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window  Alison Fairman tips soil on urban meadow Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
Paul Collingwood fills wheelbarrows from the ten-tonne soil pile and Alison Fairman, chairman of Boston in Bloom, tips her load