Whilst many of us throughout Britain have been basking in the glorious sunshine, the soaring temperatures have left our gardens looking a little lacklustre. Fortunately, following a short bout of rain, the grass is looking greener and foliage is flourishing once again – just in time for this year’s Britain in Bloom competition. In its 54th year, this RHS event sees volunteers and garden enthusiasts from rural villages, urban areas and city centres battle it out across a range of criteria, including:
- community engagement
- helping improve biodiversity
- horticultural knowledge
- adaptation to climate change
This month, the RHS Britain in Bloom judges will visit the finalists, with the winners of each category and finalists’ scores being announced at an awards ceremony in Belfast on 19th October.
How does the competition work?
Finalists who are making substantial progress in their local area are elevated to the final stage where they are scored by a team of RHS national judges. They will compete across 12 categories, one of which has been newly introduced for town and city centres this year to acknowledge the positive role green spaces play in urban areas to help health and well-being, flood prevention and wildlife.
What are the categories?
There are 12 categories in total competing for a coveted award at the ceremony in October. Across the board, the South West has the highest number of entrants, with seven representing the region in the esteemed ‘Champions of Champions’ category. Other entries in this category are:
- Didsbury in Manchester
- Market Bosworth in Leicestershire
- Newcastle under Lyme in Staffordshire
- Usk in Wales
The 2017 winner of this category was the Lancashire village of Elswick which partnered stunning floral displays with strong community spirit, making for a winning combination! At the time of winning, the coordinator for this entry, Paul Hayhurst, stated: “We started entering Britain in Bloom to improve our village which two decades ago was uncared for and had problems with litter and vandalism. We never expected to win and everyone was absolutely over the moon. Since then, there’s been far more interest – neighbouring areas have been inspired to set up their own groups, we’ve been invited to give talks and we’ve had lots more visitors to Elswick. It’s been incredible.” This is a prime example of how a community can be brought together through a shared, vested interest in wanting to improve the local area.
Friday 19th October will see the winning finalists receive their awards ranging from bronze, silver and gold – so make sure you check to see which community gardening groups have triumphed and take a look at their award-winning displays!
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