Bury in Bloom, an important branch of the society

This is our most recent feature in The Bury Free Press , explaining the importance of Bury in Bloom

Many people do not appreciate that Bury in Bloom, such a vital cog in the greening of the town, is part of, financed, and organised by the Bury St Edmunds Society.

The Bury Society has always seen trees and planting schemes as an important element of the urban environment and part of a lasting legacy for future generations. Bury in Bloom has been in operation since 1986 and works alongside the local authorities, businesses, community and educational representatives to enhance the townscape. Our aim is to make Bury St Edmunds a cleaner, greener, more beautiful town.

Each year, Bury in Bloom features strongly in regional and national awards through Anglia in Bloom and the national Britain in Bloom. In 2023 success came in the form of gold in the ‘Large Town Category’ making twelve gold medals the tally to date. The Abbey Gardens were overall winners in the ‘Public/Open Space Category’.

Attitudes have changed considerably over the years as to what constitutes good practice in planting schemes. Sustainable schemes as part of our environmental responsibility are extremely important – a major element of the Anglia in Bloom judging criteria. Our Bury in Bloom coordinator, Chris Wiley is an enthusiastic supporter of this move to protect our environment. Chris says “For far too long, local authorities and home gardeners have seen annual bedding schemes as a ‘statement’ piece without considering the local wildlife and environmental issues that they cause. They need constant watering through dry summers (a strain on an already fragile resource), more often than not they are grown in peat composts in countries such as the Netherlands and flown over to the UK. This has huge cost implications by having to replace planting schemes in late summer and early spring, it also leaves a massive carbon footprint and provides no benefits to pollinators or butterflies.”

In support of this move to more sustainable planting, Bury in Bloom is working on the first perennial scheme on Sainsburys roundabout (Bedingfeld Way). It is the intention to replace much of the bedding used in Bury over the coming years and educate people on why it is so important. It is hoped to extend the scheme and Chris will be trialling perennials in hanging baskets over the next couple of years.

The society is further helping the environment via its harvested rainwater infrastructure, which massively reduces the strain on Anglia Water, and ensures the hanging baskets which adorn the town in summer are maintained throughout the season. Some of our major sponsors such as Greene King and the Abbeygate cinema have provided space and resources for the rainwater harvesting .

The Bury Society understands that community involvement is essential for sustainability. The front garden competition, more commonly known as the ‘Certificates of Merit’ demonstrates this.  Some 80 to 100 volunteer judges visit nearly 20,000 front gardens in Bury St Edmunds and hand out around 1600 highly prized certificates.  The society always strives to be inclusive through the Greenfingers competition for schools, nurseries and care homes. The society is also always enthusiastically supporting local initiatives, the most recent being the highly successful Bury St Edmunds Seed Swap event.

The Bury Society depends upon financial support from the local authority and commercial sponsors to make Bury in Bloom happen each year. The volunteers who help coordinate the different elements of the scheme are equally important. Finally, it is the strength of the society’s membership and community involvement which attracts the commercial sponsors who see the merit in supporting a vibrant Bury in Bloom and the wider Bury Society.


Back to top