However, in recent times Stratford in Bloom, the body that organises the town’s floral splendour, hit a few snags – not least of which was a hiccup over its routine application for a grant from Stratford Town Trust.
That was sorted out relatively quickly, but in the meantime Stratford was not entered for the Britain in Bloom competition in 2014 or 2015.
This week Steve Brookes, the gardening broadcaster who chairs Stratford in Bloom, told the Herald: “Stratford in Bloom chose not to enter the national competition in the previous two years for a number of reasons.
Firstly the committee felt that the overall look of the floral displays in the town, both those provided by Stratford District Council and Stratford in Bloom – when viewed as a whole – were not up to a standard that would have stood us a chance of success in the competition.
“Secondly, we wanted to almost re-invent Stratford in Bloom by having more community involvement via special projects, extend our relationships with local business through sponsorship initiatives and, finally, we needed to update and build on our annual local competition to make it more exciting and attractive to enter for local residents, organisations and companies.”
Mr Brookes added: “Now, with a revamped Stratford in Bloom, magnificent displays (thanks to our new contractor, Blenheim Nursery), more community and business involvement and a new-look local competition, we are confident that Stratford in Bloom can bring the town, residents and businesses together with a spirit to make Stratford look fantastic in 2016 and stand a chance in the national Britain in Bloom competition.”
In a reference to next year’s massive commemoration of Shakespeare’s death in 1616, Mr Brookes said: “It would be magical if, in Stratford’s special ‘Shakespeare’s 400th’ year, we could achieve something wonderful again.
“Success, however, will not be just down to Stratford in Bloom. It will be very much a community effort with everyone doing their bit – residents, businesses, schools, groups and societies and council bodies – and having the pride to help our great town look and feel fabulous.”
At Stratford in Bloom’s annual presentation evening for its local gardening competition at the Arts House on 28th September, the guest speaker will be celebrity gardening broadcaster and author Professor Stefan Buczacki, who lives at Clifford Chambers.
The awards have been sponsored by local businesses including the Stratford Herald whose editor Amanda Chalmers will be presenting the award for the Best Shop display. and the Mayor of Stratford, Cllr Tessa Bates, and money raised from the sale of each £5 ticket for the event – which will include canapes and refreshments – will go towards providing additional floral displays and helping support community projects.