GREEN-FINGERED volunteers have swapped plants for plastic after being hit by a shortage of flowers.

Members of Halstead in Bloom have come together to start an unusual project.

During this time of year, the town would normally be gearing up for a the annual visit of the Anglia in Bloom judges.

But even though this year’s competition has been cancelled because of the pandemic, the In Bloom volunteers haven’t been resting on their laurels.

Planning to create a new display outside Halstead Hospital in Hedingham Road, volunteers struggled to find the plants they needed because of the coronavirus crisis.

In an unusual twist, they decided to turn their attentions to using discarded plastic bottles and yoghurt pots instead.

Volunteer Annie Rees usually looks after the hospital’s Loom Bed and was the brains behind the quirky idea.

She said: “The hospital Loom bed would normally be planted up with flowers and follow a theme but this year we struggled to find the volume of plants needed and the bed looked likely to remain empty.

“We sadly had to work individually but it proved great fun and we hope the result puts a smile on everyone’s face.”

The group collected plastic recyclable items including milk bottles, yoghurt pots, flower pots, garden fabrics and sticks and created a colourful ‘grow your own’ virtual allotment complete with scarecrow.

As Anglia in Bloom is running a virtual competition this year, the allotment will be entered in the ‘best display of recyclable objects’ category.

In the meantime, the Halstead in Bloom volunteers have decided to set up their own competition and are appealing for the town’s help in coming up with a new name for the plastic scarecrow.

Posters for the ‘choose a name’ competition will be circulated to schools, nurseries and children’s organisations throughout the town and the team are hoping for a good response.

To take part, simply send your name suggestion along with your name, age and contact details by email to

You can also message the group via Facebook and post a letter through the letterbox of Hardy’s Menswear or Halstead Icing.

All entries must be submitted by 5pm on Wednesday, July 22.