PLASTIC almost did for the Ludlow in Bloom bid for gold last year.

At a time when plastics are much criticised it has been revealed that the material could have killed off the town’s ‘in bloom’ challenge in 2019.

Vivienne Parry, who leads the Ludlow in Bloom team, is offering the experience of the hot summer of 2018 as a cautionary warning for gardeners in and around the town.

The problem became apparent because the hanging baskets in the town centre that form an important part of the bid were not doing as well as it had been hoped.

Mrs Parry and her team did not know what was happening.

Volunteers from around the town spent hours in the soaring heat pushing a water bowser around in a bid to keep the plants hydrated and looking good.

“It was a huge effort, very hard work and tiring,” said Mrs Parry.

“We did not know what was happening but just put the problem down to the very hot weather.”

But a chance conversation revealed that there was another factor that had not been considered.

“We had been using hanging baskets with plastic at the bottom to help retain water,” added Mrs Parry.

“It meant that there was about an inch of water in the bottom of the hanging baskets.

“I was talking to someone and they suggested that the problem was the plastic in the bottom of the hanging baskets.

“This was getting very hot and was actually causing the water to boil. It was this that was damaging the roots of the plants and making it difficult for them to prosper.”

This year has been very different and the baskets have been lined with moss and hesian to keep the roots cool.

“It has not been as hot and there has been a lot of rain in June and so the conditions have been very different to last year.

“But we have also changed the lining at the bottom of the hanging baskets.

“Instead of plastic we now have moss and hessian. This absorbs the water and keeps the roots of the plants cooler.”

There are 32 handing baskets in the town centre planted out with flowers of many colours in line with the theme this year of weddings.

But it is not just the hanging baskets and plants in the public places that will need to catch the eye of the judges when they visit on Friday, July 12 where they will finish up at Whitefriars for lunch.

The ‘in bloom’ group want people in the town to enter a hanging baskets and gardens competition that is being revitalised and will be judged in the third week of July.

There are 10 different categories and cups for the winners.

“This is something that was done in the past but dropped,” added Mrs Parry.

“However, we are bringing it back because we want the people of the town to be involved. It is all part of showing pride in Ludlow and making sure that it looks at its best.”

More information and entry forms are available from the Town Council offices in the Guildhall in Mill Street.