HALSTEAD in Bloom is “all systems go” as preparations start for this year’s Britain in Bloom competition.

The group’s first working party took place on Tuesday and is the first of many leading up to the competition in August.

Halstead in Bloom group founder Julia Smith said the route is now planned for the planting and talks with councils are taking place in a bid to overcome some of the problems the group are facing.

She said: “The automatic watering system is operational for the bridge and Causeway, and some new pipework will be installed to make watering the Solar wall display much more efficient.

“We will, unfortunately, have to start removing the winter plants and there will be some plants to give away from mid May onward.

“We have been offered a trial of a new product of plant food and soil conditioner from Plantgrow at Attleborough and that will be delivered shortly. We will try a couple of areas where we have multiple displays so that we can compare and contrast.”

The group has already had confirmation that some of its loyal sponsors will be supporting the floral displays in Halstead again this year.

Mrs Smith added: “Our Local Garden Competition will be run again this year and entry forms are at the Halstead Town Council office and Halstead Icing.”

Entry closes on July 12 and judging will take place the following weekend.

The group will also be attending a meet and greet event at the Bull Inn on Bridge Street on Saturday, May 11, and will assist at the Halstead Marathon on Sunday, May 12.

Mrs Smith said: “We intend to have a fundraising plant stall at Halstead Market on Friday, May 24. Team members are bringing on plants for that and we will appreciate any donations of plants.

“As you can see – it’s all systems go for Halstead in Bloom 2019.”