Lauder in Bloom
The group works throughout the year, keeping their town clean, green and floral for everyone who lives and works there and for those who visit. Activities include designing, funding and maintaining all the public floral displays, along with regular litter-picking and pavement weeding.
They work with other community groups on gardening and environmental projects, helping to grow Lauder’s gardening community, including free seed and plant swaps and an active online group. They hope to strengthen the wellbeing of group members and their wider community, inspiring others to be more aware of what they can all do to help their environment whilst benefitting everyone.
In 2023, Lauder in Bloom was recognised with two Beautiful Scotland discretionary awards:
1. The David Welch Memorial Award for Something Special: Amongst the myriad of imaginative and impressive initiatives Lauder in Bloom instigates, is the stunningly simple but super effective ‘Good Garden Award’. The award recognises and rewards the contribution which individual ‘have a go gardeners’ make to this place’s overall floral impact. Annually the town is divided up, and volunteers take two streets each to assess the gardens present. This may be a window box, planter at a door, full front garden, hanging baskets or planted bed visible from the street. Certificates designed by a local child are secretly posted through letter boxes, without recipients even entering a competition!
When walking around, there are many certificates proudly displayed in front windows, and, being recognised for their part in making this place look lovely will undoubtedly encourage further action. As well as rewarding residents, the award subtly raises awareness of the group.
Such a simple but effective, clever and low-cost initiative could be easily replicated by others.
2. The Keep Scotland Beautiful Award:The extent of the work of Lauder in Bloom is evidenced by the number of unique initiatives they carry out, and the broad scope of planted areas and containers which they adopted from the local council. Using before and after photos to demonstrate the year-round transformational changes really brought it home to the judges the phenomenal work Lauder in Bloom carries out. They are certainly using their skills and plant knowledge to full effect, with appropriate perennial species split and divided and spread throughout the planting areas. They also actively consider both their environmental impact and biodiversity. The group have also really set the standard for community participation! From decorating lampposts with evergreen displays and knitted bows at Christmas, to involving Squirrels (of the Scout variety) in litter picking, their commitment and drive has encouraged others to come on board, from local businesses to additional volunteers and groups.
In 2021, Lauder in Bloom won the Jim Murdie Trophy for Sustainability: The sustainability achievements of Lauder in Bloom are too many to mention here, but, to name a few, they have significantly reduced their annual planting, altered planting to reduce watering as well as collecting rainwater, make their own compost, choose not to use herbicides or pesticides, created a meadow to increase biodiversity and education, held a successful volunteer drive and created a local authority-wide ‘bloom’ network, helping all groups continue despite council cutbacks.
In 2021, Lauder in Bloom was joint winner in the RHS Wild About Gardens Discretionary Award.
In 2019 Lauder in Bloom won the Garden for Life Biodiversity Discretionary Award: Four years ago the group adopted three un-loved spaces next to the play park and football field and has gradually transformed them into ‘Pollinators Patches @ The Park’. These beds have been primarily filled with pollinator-friendly plants and have something beneficial in bloom over a long season, from snowdrops to buddleia. Stems of herbaceous perennials are left over winter to provide valuable teasel seeds for the goldfinches and shelter for small animals. Many locals were interested in the wildlife being attracted to these areas, in particular bees and butterflies, so the group acquired signs which highlight which types and colours of flowers are best for attracting different insects. It has also recently put up several other signs including a Friends of the Earth ‘Bee Spotter Guide’ encouraging locals to take part in the Great British Bee Count, so far run several times with the local Brownies, and has worked with Butterfly Conservation Scotland to create a butterfly ID sign showing the 12 most likely found species in the area and where locals can record their sightings. The local School Gardening Club helped the group to build a big bug hotel in the middle of one of the beds and it ran a workshop on basic pond-building highlighting that even small inexpensive ponds can be beneficial to wildlife along with a log pile. Within these beds the group has also created ‘Bee Towers’ for solitary bees, with varying sizes of holes to accommodate different species of bee. The towers have an accompanying sign so that locals know what they are for, how they are used and what to look out for if there are any resident bees.