Bilston blooms at retirement village

Residents and staff at a Wolverhampton retirement village are hoping to gain an award as part of the Britain in Bloom competition.

WOLVERHAMPTON PIC MNA PIC  DAVID HAMILTON PIC  EXPRESS AND STAR 14/07/21  (left-right) Britain in Bloom judge Robin Russell, resident Lorraine Topham,  councillor Gillian Wildman, and resident Emily Perry, in one of the gardens, at Bushfield Court, Bilston..
WOLVERHAMPTON PIC MNA PIC DAVID HAMILTON PIC EXPRESS AND STAR 14/07/21 (left-right) Britain in Bloom judge Robin Russell, resident Lorraine Topham, councillor Gillian Wildman, and resident Emily Perry, in one of the gardens, at Bushfield Court, Bilston..

A communal garden at Bushfield Court, in Bilston, part of Midland Heart Retirement Living, was last year classed as "outstanding" by the judges.

This year everyone wanted to pay tribute to key workers and chose to enter the section classed as In Your Neighbourhood, with two main themes of showing thanks and kindness and encouraging wildlife.

As part of this they paid tribute to local businesses who had supported them through the pandemic lockdowns and the community, including local schools.

A scarecrow trail was included in the design of the community gardens and residents in the 82 bungalows and flats also ensured flowers were blooming on their patios and balconies.

Maria Barley, 57, the Lifestyle Coach at Bushfield Court, said: "The response from local businesses including B&Q and Morrisons when we needed supplies during the pandemic was absolutely wonderful and we ensured there were scarecrows in their brand colours.

"A local Knit and Natter group from St Leonard's Church also made knitted items for display in the garden.

"We entered the competition for the first time in 2019 and gained an outstanding commendation, and this year are hoping to take the title.

"Because of the pandemic last year and lockdowns, gardening really took off and everyone got involved.

"However, one resident is really hoping we can take the title and that is Bill Simkiss, a 93-year-old double amputee, who grew 98 per cent of all the flowers from seed.

"At one time he had 999 pots in the large greenhouse we have here and we nicknamed him Compo!

"The communal garden is a central feature of the retirement scheme and everyone thinks it is a delight."

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