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Britain In Bloom (South and South East) Competition 2020

We won a Silver-Gilt Award

“Dorking in this its 400 year association with the Mayflower and the Pilgrim Fathers have pulled out all the stops in this very special year. The community has been encouraged to play their part and all of the various events and features that Bloom represents have been done very well. The documentation is very informative and provided much of the information needed to confirm the status of Dorking in this years “desktop challenge. It is without doubt that should Dorking wish to continue with Bloom into next years competition (fingers crossed) and with a little more attention to the Bloom criteria a higher award would be very likely. This is not a criticism as for a first time entry this award is almost unprecedented and Dorking is to be congratulated on a superb efforts to celebrate such as moment in time in Dorking’s history. Therefore as a first time entry South & South East in Bloom is very pleased to award a high Silver Gilt Award.”

Dorking Town Partnership have this year both organised and funded the summer hanging baskets as well as organised, with full community participation, six magnificent Mayflower boat planters all named after the residents of Dorking who set sail on the Mayflower in 1620 to seek a new life in America. They have also sponsored in collaboration with MVDC and Government two Dorking banners.

Dorking Mayflower Connection

The six residents from Dorking who boarded the Mayflower in 1620 included a shoemaker William Mullins, his family and residents from the town. Priscilla Mullins was the only Mullins family member to survive the first winter, she married John Alden set up home in Duxbury and is well regarded by the Americans as the mother of America. Descendants include former Presidents, Hollywood stars and those present family members who belong to a unique genealogical society.

The Mullins Building

The property belonging to the Mullins family before they set sail is sited in West Street it has now been converted to shops and luxury apartments. The Mullins cafe run by Basil and his wife Sue is well worth a trip as it not only offers delicious cakes and snacks but also has a fantastic Mayflower display. Next door is a new to open Artistic Tattoo Parlour. Nearest to the Museum entrance is the Mayflower Spa offering a full range of beauty and holistic treatments.
Mayflower Plaque

The Mayflower Boat Planters

The Dorking Men’s Shed headed by David Tobitt have spent many hours designing and building our wonderful Mayflower boat planters.

The decision by Charlotte and the DTP was to paint them in the NHS blue as acknowledgement of all the hard work our local NHS staff have been doing during these difficult times, as well as pay tribute nationally to all those workers who lost their lives whilst helping others. Our six boats are called William, Alice, Priscilla, Joseph, Robert, and Peter.

The boats were moved to David’s driveway for the obelisks to be installed in readiness for planting. Our original plan was to get the boats planted by the Dorking school children and scouts but due to Covid-19 this was not possible.

The Mayflower Boat Plants

All the plants were grown from either seed or very small plugs and nurtured by Patti Lister, resident of Rose Hill House, South Street.

Everything used for the boats from building to planting was sourced from local suppliers and businesses with natural products being used where possible.

The plants chosen are in patriotic colours to theme with the town’s hanging baskets. Plants grown for the planters include geraniums, petunias, cosmos, cornflowers, lobelia, zinnias, larkspur, sweet peas, and ivy for growing up the obelisks. The planter outside the Medwyn Surgery has some slightly different flowers with scented and herbal properties including white lavender, thyme, salvia, and camomile.
Mayflower Planting
They were all planted by Patti, my daughter Diana and myself.

The boat planters were transported in town and put in position once the plants were established. DTP agreed with local businesses and council where the boats would be positioned. It was important that William was in West Street near the Mullins building and Priscilla was outside Waitrose. The remaining boats are outside the Medwyn Surgery, The Dorking Halls, The White Horse Hotel and South Street Gardens. We tend them every week with additional watering from our contractor Amethyst. The boats will remain in situ all summer.

Dorking’s Floral Hanging Baskets

There are 103 hanging baskets around the town on lampposts and properties, this year they have been planted in patriotic colours to show patronage to both the UK and America.

The flowers used are predominately petunias and trailing geraniums. All baskets have been sponsored by the Dorking Town Partnership and are included in this slide show. We are delighted to announce that many businesses are reopening after lockdown and as from the pictures shown you will see how smart the properties are as many have been newly painted. DTP are also thrilled to see new businesses opening during these challenging times.

Hanging baskets

Dorking's Town Street Banners

From the pictures you will see the recently erected Dorking banners across both the High Street and West Street, these are sponsored by MVDC and DTP to highlight the town’s reopening. 

The banners were designed locally by Zed creative with illustrations from local artist Rachel Dinnage depicting Dorking’s beauty spots and landmarks.
Dorking Town Banner Design
Dorking Town Banner

The United Reformed Church

The United Reformed Church in West Street has also come on board with a beautiful display ‘The Mayflower Sunrise’ in their gardens. They have also opened the gates during lockdown welcoming guests to sit in quiet reflection and prayer. 

The Mayflower 'Sunrise' Display

Four hundred years ago this year, the Pilgrim Fathers set sail for America. They were seeking a new life in the ‘New World’. Some were seeking fortune, some adventure, and many sought religious freedoms and the vision of a society with God at the centre.

One of them, William Mullins, lived just a few yards along West Street from the site of Dorking URC. Pastor John Robinson spoke some parting words to the Pilgrim Fathers as they left on their voyage across the Atlantic on the Mayflower, including a line that has become preserved in the refrain of a well-known hymn: ‘The Lord has yet more light and truth to break forth from his word’.
Mayflower 'Sunrise' Display
This display in the church garden, that has been created collaboratively over the period of lockdown due to Covid19 is intended to echo those words and resemble a sunrise. We hope it might be a small representation of that light and truth at this dark time. 

Most of the plants were grown from some of the 60 packets of seeds given away in the church garden at the beginning of lockdown, then germinated and nurtured in homes around the town. 

These included Children in Need sunflowers and Pumpkins, Marigolds and Calendula. Around 20 households accepted the invitation to bring back any unwanted seedlings to make the display. 

We hope their ‘cousins’ growing up in gardens around the town are bringing some joy and light into those places too. We would love to see any pictures of them to add to this album. 

If you kindly did return seedlings to the church garden, Thank you! As many were left when nobody was around, we would love to know who you are so we can add your names to the credit board – so please do let us know!
Sunrise Display
The parting words from John Robinson have been added to the front of the display with the letters picked out using copper nails and blue string line, along with a board acknowledging all those known to have contributed to the project, as well as those that left plants in the church garden whilst nobody was around to receive them due to the buildings being closed.  

The display, and the Mayflower story are both being used as the theme for the All-Age Harvest Celebrations and Parade service at the church in September, close to the date that the Mayflower sailed, exploring ‘new beginnings’ and what we might be able to learn by observing them alongside the Parable of the Sower recorded in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke.   
Whilst there is no direct evidence linking those that sailed on the Mayflower to slavery or exploitation of the indigenous people, it is not easy to separate it completely from the broader history of colonialism that the Black Lives Matter movement rightly has encouraged a re-examination of over recent months.  

Our hope is that like the different types of ground onto which the seed in the Parable of the Sower falls, the different motives with which those that set out to build a ‘New World’ across the Atlantic can give us some guidance as we set about trying to build a new ‘post Covid 19’ world – one in which more of God’s ‘light and truth’ might yet break forth.

The Mayflower display at Dorking URC is just part of the church community’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic and lockdown, during which the Church Garden has remained open as a place for quiet reflection, prayer, and a conduit for various activities. 

Several prayer stations have been set up around the garden, including a prayer tree that has had the hopes and fears of many passers-by, added to it on leaves. 
Mayflower display

The Gin Kitchen

Dorking’s very own renowned gin distiller ‘The Gin Kitchen’ has been working hard for many months developing a gin for our Mayflower in bloom entry. This was a real challenge as they normally distil more modern bespoke gins.

Much research and sampling has gone in to defining which natural properties and flavours should be used.

Despite Covid-19 lockdown the latest news is they are shortly releasing a traditional dry gin using natural ingredients that were taken onboard the Mayflower and used within the 1600’s. Title name to be confirmed.
Gin Kitchen

The White Horse

The White Horse have recently re opened and with the help of Elaine’s our local florist they have put up wicker flower baskets with the themed colours of the town as well as allowing one of The Mayflower boat planters sited outside on their gravel path. 

They have also put extra tables and seating at the rear of the hotel to allow more fresco dining.
The White Horse

The Kings Head Court

On the corner of North Street and The High Street is a very old courtyard and buildings dating back prior to the 1600’s. They have added an additional Mayflower display for our entry.
The Kings Head Court

Mole Valley District Council

Planted areas of the town maintained by the council have also used a contrasting of purple and white petunias that compliment both the hanging baskets and Mayflower planters. These include areas by the war memorial, the High Street and Triangle Stores.
Mole Valley District Council

Hello Dorking Celebrates Dorking 2020 Participants List

Our thanks to all these people who made it all happen.

Dorking Men’s Shed community group for designing, making, painting, and putting into position the wonderful boats. Special mention to Chairman David Tobitt who coordinated the entire venture as well as giving up space in his drive and looking after the newly planted boats until the plants were established enough to move into town.

Linda Tobitt for her fabulous video entries of the building of the Mayflower boat planters included in our entry.

Mrs Patti Lister resident of Rose Hill House who chose, grew, and nurtured every plant from seed or plug. She is also responsible for the layout and planting of the boats. She is continuing to maintain them on a weekly basis along with myself and my daughter Diana.

Miss Diana Adams-Fuller who has helped with all the stages of the planting and has also spent a huge amount of time helping with the portfolio, desktop, and slide show presentation.

Fiona Elizabeth Ingvarsson for running 2019 DTP photo competition, Christmas Window Competition 2019 and taking photos for this presentation.

Jenny Clement resident of Rose Hill for taking a massive repertoire of photos for this presentation.

Zed creative local Dorking company who designed the banners using illustrations from local artist Rachel Dinnage. The banners were made by a local company Eyes Wide Digital and installed by Ultralite our banner and Christmas Light contractor.

Amethyst our contractor who provides and maintains the hanging baskets each year and despite Covid-19 lockdown was still able to keep with our patriotic colours.

The URC church, Pastor, Chris Curry and all the congregation for all their work within their creative floral display and gardens.

Jaqui Hamlyn and The Gin Kitchen for their amazing work and dedication to produce a local gin for this event.

The Dorking Museum volunteers, headed by Jean Ward and Kathy Atherton for all their work in conjunction with Mayflower celebrations.

Mole Valley District Council for continuing maintenance of Dorking’s green spaces and support of Dorking businesses through Covid-19.

All Dorking businesses who have or will be reopening their doors.

Our continued thanks to our fabulous Friends of Dorking and of course ‘Dorkers’ who have provided Christmas lights, Easter and Spook hunts, The Town Crier, and hanging baskets to the town for a great number of years.

And finally,

The Dorking Town Partnership including all 320 plus Bid levy members, all board members, with special thanks to Charlotte Whitaker DTP manager, Andrew Fuller Chairman and Nick Boot company secretary for their work and full support of the projects undertaken.

My name is Elizabeth Fuller and I am delighted to present:

‘Hello Dorking Celebrates Mayflower 2020’

Download the Portfolio to find out more about our entry.

Mayflower planters

Dorking Town Partnership
156 South Street
Dorking, RH4 2HF

T: 07377 0966892

© 2022 Dorking Town Partnership
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