The highlight of our allotment year is our open day. This is the fifth year in a row that we have opened Bowbrook Allotment Community under the auspices of the National Gardens Scheme as one of the lucky gardens appearing in their famous Yellow Book. We enjoy letting anyone who wishes to visit our community gardens come to see what we get up to.
The day began at 8:30 am when some of our young families toured our wildlife areas with members of the Shropshire Wildlife Trust and the Shropshire Mammal Society who had set live mammal traps the evening before. We periodically link with the trust to discover aspects of the biodiversity of the site. This gives our young members the special experience of seeing close up the mammals living on site and the trust members help them use charts to identify the creatures trapped. The children had the chance to see some or our birdlife too, and at times wander off to enjoy their own special places.
We then started sorting out everything we needed ready to open up the site to our visitors at 2:00. We gathered together all the plants we had ready to sell on our plant stall.
“The Tea Bags” our refreshments sub-committee, began putting together their tea shop with the help of many volunteers. Gazebos had to be erected, tables and chairs arranged and all the cups, saucers and other paraphanalia needed sorted and organised. All day from 8:30 onwards our members delivered home made cakes and biscuits.
A gazebo had to be positioned to create our ticket sales and info area. Jill and Geoff manned this area while we were open greeting all our visitors and giving our information sheets, quiz sheets, trail guides and the important competition voting slips. The photographs entered by our members into the photo competition were pinned to a board ready to be voted on by our guests during the afternoon.
Every year our guests are asked to judge various competitions including our scarecrow competition. This year our theme was “Heroes and Villains” and here are a few for you to enjoy.
Our competition this year for children was “Making A Miniature Garden in a Yogurt Pot”.
We also invite our guests to vote for their favourite photographs in the selection entered by members.
We invite local conservation groups to come along too to show our visitors all about their work, and this year the Shropshire Mammal Society, the Shropshire Wildlife Trust and the Shropshire Beekeepers Society all joined in.
Our Tea Bags tea shop soon got busy and by the end of the day the Tea Bags had served hundreds of cups of tea or coffee along with a wonderful choice of home made cakes baked by our members.
Close by a local Ukele Band entertained our guests as they enjoyed their refreshments.
One little lad was mesmerised by their magical sounds. He turned his back on all other distractions and sat down to listen.
Lots of our members work on their plots or sit close by their plots to greet our visitors, answer queries and share their secrets of growing good crops. Even our younger members are proud to show their produce to our visitors.
After the last of our visitors left and the site grows quiet once again the task of returning the allotments back to its usual character quickly began. The Tea Bag tea shop soon disappeared as helpers put away their cups and saucers, tea urn and generator and tables and chairs.
And the winner of the scarecrow competition was Robin Hood made by Pete and Sherlie!
After a busy morning setting up, a busy time looking after our guests and then a busy time returning everything to normal the site finally became quiet, we locked the gate and wearily made our ways home. When we took stock of the day we were delighted to discover we had been host to 355 visitors and sent nearly £1700 to the National Garden Scheme and their wonderful charities.