Blooming beautiful – Didsbury in Bloom 2017

Didsbury village always puts on a fine display for Didsbury in Bloom judging day. We have a small army of volunteers who plant up tubs and flowerbeds throughout the village all over the year, but as judging day for Didsbury in Bloom 2017 approached, more volunteers and residents rolled up their sleeves to make sure Didsbury showed off how blooming beautiful she is.

Blooming beautiful - Didsbury in Bloom 2017

On 4th July this year the judges arrived to inspect the village for Didsbury in Bloom 2017. I live on one of the roads which is judged so we’d spent some time making sure our front garden looked the best it could. Over the weekend everyone down our lane pulled out their green bins and set to work making sure everything was tidy, swept and neatly trimmed. It looked a treat.

This year Didsbury in Bloom celebrated our connection to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). The RSPB was founded by Emily Williamson in her home in Didsbury in 1889. Today you can visit where the first meetings were held at what is now the Alpine Tea Room in Fletcher Moss Gardens.

Blooming beautiful - Didsbury in Bloom 2017

On Ford Lane the volunteers had spent a lot of time building and making a Bug Hotel. The Bug Hotel is a fine addition to the green on Ford Lane, creating a little wildlife haven for birds and bugs was a great idea. Some of the local children lent a hand to help build it and we hope it will become a permanent fixture on the lane.

Blooming beautiful - Didsbury in Bloom 2017

Ford Lane is fringed on one side by a strip of woodland and has tidy grass verges with planters which are planted with bulbs and bedding plants. In spring the lane comes alive with blousy blossom. It’s a real wildlife corridor and we have all kinds of birds visiting our gardens throughout the year. We also have a family of foxes, plus owls, bats and we’ve seen more butterflies about this year than I can remember.

Blooming beautiful - Didsbury in Bloom 2017

I really love this hanging ball of pine cones, made with two hanging baskets joined together. It’s huge but it looks great hanging from one of the ancient trees which are on the lane. Clever isn’t it?

After the judges had moved on to other parts of the village, some of the volunteers and helpers gathered for a much needed cup of tea and homemade cake. It was a good opportunity for neighbours to mingle and chat for a while. Even the cat found time in her busy schedule to join us.

Blooming beautiful - Didsbury in Bloom 2017

Didsbury in Bloom is a lovely community thing to be part of. We are very lucky to live somewhere where many of the residents have such pride in their area. We can’t always help out as much as we’d like, but we try to keep our front garden looking neat and tidy, and we help out on community days when the green bins, hedge trimmers and sweeping brushes come out.

The Didsbury in Bloom 2017 team won’t know the results of the judging for a little while yet, but we have high hopes of repeating the success of previous years.

Read more about Didsbury – Five fabulous things about Didsbury Village.

Big thanks to Ted’s Garden Shed who worked really hard to clear the scruffy wilderness of our front garden and create something rather lovely in its place.

In Praise of the Perfect Panini

I have in the past spoken about my incredibly selfless dedication to ensuring the good people of Didsbury, nay, Manchester, have something decent on their plate and something delightfully quaffable in their glass.

This week I once again saw fit to don my cape of selflessness (I’ve had one specially made, don’t worry) and gallop down to the Alpine Tea Room to sample their panini/panino/Italian style toasted sandwich. Whatever you want to call it.

Now, in the spirit of honesty, I am quite good chums with Lou who runs the Alpine Tea Room. He’s basically ace and has a way with cake that would make Mr Kipling green with envy. Any road, he was launching a new range of paninis and (adjusts cape of selflessness) asked if I’d come down and wrap my face round the roasted veg, pesto and cheese panini in exchange for my brutally honest opinion.

Honestly, my brutally honest opinion was that it was ruddy lovely. The bread was sprinkled with sesame and nigella seeds which when toasted added a nicely nutty note. The roasted veg was amongst the best I’d ever had, often roasted veg is floppy and tasteless but this was mega and incredibly flavoursome. There was a thin schmeer of pesto which suited me as these things can tend to be over pestoed for my tastes and enough cheese to ooze seductively from the panini.

Alpine tea room

I’m proud to say I was the first human being ever to try the Alpine panini (I think I get a badge or a trophy or something). As you can see from the picture, it’s a pretty handsome piece of hot Italian toasted sandwich. It’s massive and well priced at £4.95. I had intended to shovel a piece of carrot cake in for pudding but I was so full that I couldn’t manage it, and we all know my feelings about carrot cake.

Lou’s luscious panini hit the posh toasted sandwich spot! It was, in short, a thoroughly enjoyable experience. I normally (for shame and convenience) indulge my panini based urges in one of the popular coffee chains as its just round the corner from my house. I’m always, always disappointed and a little bit weirded out because they always taste vaguely of disinfectant.

You know, it’s really no less convenient for me to amble over to Fletcher Moss. I’m pretty much addicted to the filter coffee in the Alpine Tea Room anyway and the cakes are just FIT. So should you find yourself on the south side of Didsbury I heartily recommend a fortifying walk round Fletcher Moss followed by a well deserved butty and a brew served by the lovely Lou.

The Alpine Tea Room is located in Fletcher Moss Gardens and is open Tues-Fri 11am-4.30pm. Sat & Sun 12 noon – 4.30pm.

Disclaimer: Fair enough, Lou gave me a free panini to try for no other reason other than he wanted an honest opinion (and I clearly need feeding up). He didn’t know I was going to write a blog about it, but I loved the panini and reckoned he’d be as pleased as peas if I did, bless him (he’s a good lad).