Dear Diary



Sunflower Challenge, Hanging Baskets


The RHS suggested a sunflower challenge (see our dedicated page here) to encourage young people to plant sunflowers in their gardens to brighten up communities. NBIB applied for 10 packets of sunflower seeds, which were distributed along with 200 sunflower seedlings on Saturday 30th May at our annual tulip bulb ‘giveaway’. Our three junior NBIB members planted some seeds in the Abbey greenhouse during their February half term and members of NB Gardening Club and Sustaining NB also helped. Posters in Sweet news shop window and the volunteer notice board in Quality Street give all the details.  The QR code will take you straight to the competition page on our website.

The Pallet Garden in the Abbey Churchyard has been planted with yellow and white flowers in a sunflower pattern and the girls are looking after it by watering and dead heading. The competition will be judged in August with prizes for the tallest plant, the biggest flower and the best picture and craftwork. 


Many activities have had to change for NBIB this year. Several of our volunteers have been shielding and the few who have been gardening have had to work alone. The dry months of April and May have meant that extra watering has been vital and we felt that we would not be able to manage the extra demands of watering 100 hanging baskets in the High Street. Sadly therefore there will be a greatly reduced number of baskets this summer with displays at Bank Street, Quality Street and one or two special orders for people who will can water their own baskets. We sincerely hope that all the shops and businesses in the High Street will survive the pandemic and be able to open again. Some of them are already being painted  and we look forward to reinstating the baskets again next year, when the High Street will back to its normal vibrant self.




Twitter, pictures, watering, tulip sale and fundraising

We can’t have any events or gatherings at the moment, so we have been posting lots of pictures of our activities on twitter.  For those of you who don’t 'do' twitter, all of the photos and descriptions can be viewed on this website by clicking on the large twitter button on the RHS of the main page. Following the two months without rain, our watering teams have been busier than ever and some of our recent tweets have included appeals for extra volunteers to help with watering.  Alex has added a message onto her watering trolley. 


We currently have 4 motorised water carts with batteries and these can be filled from taps at the railway station, the police station, the churches and No 12 Quality Street. We are very grateful to Sean of No 12 who had given us assess to his tap and who also helps with watering some of the tubs outside the bistro. We are always looking for more volunteers to do watering – even though we are unlikely to be taking many holidays this summer it is still nice to share out the work.


We held a very successful tulip bulb giveaway on Saturday 30th May. With kind permission of the Abbey Church, and help from members of NB gardening club a small team divided the bulbs into bags and labelled them with name and colour before laying them out in the grounds of the church. People were able to walk in a one way system to collect a bag of bulbs and pick up a sunflower seedling for the sunflower challenge. We were delighted to receive £250 in donations which becomes over £300 with our new charity status tax allowance. This will be a great help for our finances as we will not be able to hold any of our usual fundraising events for a long time. We were also delighted to receive £300 from the Beacon lunch club at St Andrew Blackadder.