KEEN gardeners in Newtown St Boswells have been going blooming crazy this week planting flowers and tidying up the village.
Visitors and residents will have noticed blossoming changes over the past weeks as the Newtown in Bloom group has been hard at work placing planters and hanging baskets.
A mass clean-up operation has seen weeds cleared from pavements and gutters, litter has been cleared and the disused Halls Mill - for so long an eyesore - has been given a facelift with boxes of flowers and boards painted as windows.
Newtown in Bloom's Olive Beavon has asked village shops and banks to sponsor hanging baskets. She said: "For a small payment, they get a bracket and basket of flowers for outside the shop.
"The response from local businesses has been fantastic and loads of folk have told me how much this has brightened up the village centre." Newtown resident and Borders College lecturer Nigel Gibb enlisted the help of a student workforce and they have been busy - the banking at Station Brae has been cleared of weeds, shrubs have been planted and floral displays have been installed at the Bridge End wall.
Nigel's wife Rachel has set up a website, newtowninbloom.blogspot.com, where visitors can find more information, see before-and-after pictures and add their comments.
Daryl du Bois, the new group's co-ordinator, said: "We are preparing the village for SBC's Floral Gateway 2012 competition.
"We don't expect to win anything, but the real benefit is a tidier and better presented village and also the community spirit as growing numbers of people have come forward to help in different ways." Daryl added: "There is so much more we can do and we are starting to think about projects for next year and beyond so people should get in touch with ideas and suggestions." Community Council chairman George Luke is delighted at the changes and is hopeful for the future.
He said: "Newtown in Bloom have made a great start and I would like to thank all the volunteers who have put in so much work and also the many people who have donated money and spare plants.
"Everybody can help, even just by keeping their own gardens tidy and perhaps picking up litter as they go around.
"The village is looking great and there are plans to go much further in future years with more floral displays and seating areas to make this a more welcoming place for visitors." Residents who want to help should keep an eye on the village notice boards for news of meetings, or may contact the group through firstname.lastname@example.org.