Following RHS. Britain in Bloom guidelines, our aim is to be mindful of our environment, provide attractive displays of plants and flowers and to involve, educate and include all sections of our community in the work that we do
We work as a team to make a positive difference to our surroundings and to enhance the beautiful location in which we live.
Exmouth in Bloom’s ongoing core work.
The main focus of our campaign each year is the RHS South West in Bloom competition. However, the criteria as set down by Britain in Bloom, means that our work now encompasses much more than just flowers. Working together we make our town a better place for residents and visitors alike.
The committee meets monthly and we hold our AGM in January of each year. At the AGM members of the public are invited to attend and put forward ideas for future projects.
Our current projects in the town include: 15 tiered planters, 9 flower-filled signature boats, 21 large planters, hanging baskets in Summer, 26 floor standing troughs, 6 barrier troughs, The Triangle bed and The Wavy bed (illustrated below), The Verge, The Swan Project, Alexandra Terrace corner, 2 Roundabouts and the Sensory Garden on the seafront, which is under construction. We currently also tend The Waterwheel with its’ associated pond and The Dinosaur Paddocks in the Strand.
Roundabouts and Highways
Exmouth in Bloom volunteers also work together with Devon CC, Exmouth Town Council and EDDC Streetscene to make sure that roadside floral displays look attractive all year round. There is always something interesting to catch your eye; e.g. bedding plants, shrubs, Mediterranean planting and Subtropical beds, such as in The Wavy bed (illustrated) outside the Leisure Centre, and by clicking on the link you can see details of the wild flower bank that is at the station end of Marine Way. We have also recently completed the out standing Strand Roundabout project.
Exmouth’s Parks and Gardens.
Manor Gardens were first opened to the public in 1896 after the old Manor House had been demolished. The Gardens are intended to be a place of peace and tranquility in every season and are a blaze of colour particularly in Summer. A number of theatre and community events are held in these lovely gardens throughout the year.
Phear Park, once the grounds of Marpool Hall owned by Sir John Phear, is now a public park well used by all sections of the community. The park contains a number of fine mature trees, including a Lucombe Oak planted in 1726, wide spacious lawns and a pond. The amenities provided include a par 3, 18 hole golf course, a putting green, bowling greens, a play area with equipment for both toddlers and older children and a skateboard park for teenagers. There are also graffiti walls and tennis courts.
The Seafront gardens
There are spectacular gardens along the seafront, enhanced by the backdrop of the Exe Estuary and Lyme Bay. Bulbs and Spring bedding make a beautiful show. A mixture of annual Summer bedding, perennial plants and a wild flower feature are interspersed with palms and subtropical species. Visitors can enjoy the open air gym equipment in the Sunken Garden where The Sensory Garden is also being constructed by Exmouth Art Group in association with Exmouth in Bloom. There are frequent outdoor concerts in the Pavilion Gardens for all to enjoy.
The Strand Gardens, with the imposing War Memorial, bedecked with flowers all year round, provide an excellent meeting place and focal point for Exmouth’s communal events. There are free to use table tennis tables in this area. The traffic free environment makes it a lovely place to sit outside at one of the many cafes.
The Maer Nature Reserve SSSI
(article by Roger Hamling, Devon Wildlife Trust)
The Maer is a stable sand dune complex with a wide range of habitats. 212 species of plants have been recorded (Takagi-Arigho, 1992) of which eight are nationally rare and four are nationally very rare (mostly grasses and inconspicuous flowers!).
The Maer hosts the largest colony of the scarce and spectacular sea holly, Eryngium maritimum, on the southerly coast of Devon. Other conspicuous plants are rest harrow (named for its tough roots that can halt the progress of the harrow), evening primrose, sea bindweed and lady’s bedstraw.
The central area has developed as a short turf and is used as a recreational area. In the ditches and around the edges are more common plants. One of these is mugwort, Artemisia vulgaris, which has interesting connections: It contains essential oils which have insecticidal properties. When the Queen visited the Isle of Man for Tynwald Day she wore a piece of bollan bane, also called mugwort, the island’s national herb which is supposed to ward off evil spirits, In the opposite vein, a vernacular name for this plant in the Ukraine is Chernobyl, say no more!
Badgers have made their home on The Maer.
How was The Maer formed?
Plants growing at the back of the beach, together with flotsam at the strand line, cause the wind speed to drop locally. Sand carried by the wind drops out at these points and begins to build small piles. These now form another more substantial wind break, which encourages more and more sand to be deposited. The sand dune begins to build.
Salt tolerant grasses, such as sand couch-grass, are able to colonise the small dunes, stabilising them and causing them to grow further. As the sand builds it tends to cover these smaller grasses and the faster growing marram grass becomes dominant. This has very deep roots and binds the sand as the dune grows. Later pioneer plants grow near the top of the dune and stabilise its surface.
In Exmouth, a road was built through the dune thus cutting off the supply of sand on the landward side. This has caused the normal dynamic dune succession to be halted unnaturally (technically called ‘plagioclimax’). This has allowed a wide range of plants to grow in the stable environment.
The original dynamic dunes on the seaward side proved to be just that – dynamic. In recent winters they were washed away during storms. Some of the sand supply was reduced when Brunel built his railway between the sea and the sandstone cliffs. If a sufficient supply becomes available in the distant future, the dunes might slowly rebuild.