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Issued: October 1, 2016

PICTURES: Pictures can be viewed and downloaded HERE and HERE

 Market Garden officially opened

Weeks of work to transform the overgrown Market Garden area off Epping High Street were celebrated yesterday with the release of balloons at the official opening.

Members of the Epping in Bloom group were joined by town councillors - including town mayor Les Burrows and deputy town mayor Tony Church - and many of the sponsors of the project.

​Epping in Bloom chairman Victoria Robertson, who designed the new-look, took just 28 days to carry out the painstaking work and was on-site every day,

To reduce the costs, help to lay the shingle and wood chip came from the Epping in Bloom volunteers, youngsters and staff from The Box, town councillors and town council staff and Victoria's family and friends.

She said: "It has been quite challenging because the whole site is on a concrete base."​

Local businesses, groups and individuals have paid for the materials used to turn the neglected area into a community space.​ ​

Donations have provided the benches and plants which now fill the area next to the M&S Simply Food store.

The area, which includes a herb garden and seating, is the latest project to be achieved by the Epping in Bloom group which manages the floral displays at Tower Road and outside Epping Fire Station.

The group has also donated £300 worth of plants to Epping Station for its displays.

Its displays were recently recognised in the Anglia in Bloom competition with Epping in Bloom awarded a silver award for the town displays and a best floral display award for Epping Station.

Epping in Bloom chairman Victoria Robertson joined Epping in Bloom to inspire the younger generation to get involved with horticulture.

She has visited six local schools inspiring more than 1,205 children.

The Market Garden area now boasts a 'bug hotel' while the garden's 'rules' are displayed on a Dalek made from an old compost bin. A ' Retro Zone' features an area to play marbles.

Next year an L-shaped vegetable and fruit bed is to be installed along with an area featuring plants which thrive in dry conditions will be introduced so visitors can see which plants grow well without water.

Epping in Bloom volunteer Gemma ​Denia has painted a dinosaur by the entrance.

To boost its funds, Epping in Bloom is inviting people to pay £20 to have their name engraved into pieces of wood which will be placed in the garden.

Donations have already been received from Epping Town Council, M&S, Marston, Crofts Dental Practice, Epping WI, Northfields Garden Centre, Epping Horticultural Society, the Rotary Club of Epping, Travis Perkins, Stone Market and members of the public.

The area has been adapted to suit every level of ability.

One of the features is a block path installed by Pure Pave providing access to wheelchair users, mobility scooters and push chairs.

Every second and fourth Friday of the month, from 10am, Mrs Robertson is hosting Epping in Bloom gardening days when volunteers can join in with light garden duties and share ideas.

Mrs Robertson said: "There are so many people who have come together - as a true community - to make my ideas and plans for the area come to fruition. We now have a lovely area which all the community can enjoy."

She added: "The work has been carried out by the community for the community and I thank everyone whose contributions, whether financial or through their hard work digging and planting - have enabled us to achieve so much and make the area look the way it does today."


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