FROM Aberdeen in Scotland down to St Helier in Jersey, pairs of Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) judges will criss-cross the country until next Thursday to assess the 78 Britain in Bloom finalists.
In the 53rd year of this quintessentially British gardening competition, the judges will visit the villages, towns and cities chosen to fly the flag for their communities in the prestigious UK finals.
Bloom groups will be looking to impress the judges with their planting displays, tidy streets and community spirit, in the hope of being crowned one of the cleanest, greenest and most beautiful places in the UK.
Their entries will be marked against three key criteria: horticultural achievement, community participation and environmental responsibility. Each finalist will be awarded a Gold, Silver Gilt, Silver or Bronze medal, depending on the standard reached. There is also an award for being the best in each category. For example, the village, town or city category.
This year, Aberdeen (Scotland), Elswick (North West), Harrogate (Yorkshire), Hillsborough (Ulster), Oldham (North West), Portishead (South West) and St Peter Port (Guernsey) will be competing for the title of Champion of Champions, the ultimate Britain in Bloom award. On top of the category awards, finalists can be nominated for discretionary awards for achieving excellence in particular areas, such as overcoming adversity.
A new discretionary award for 2017 is Gardening in a Changing Climate, which will recognise a group’s commitment to sustainable environmental practices in horticulture. It reflects the recommendations made for gardeners in the RHS Gardening in a Changing Climate report, such as using planting to reduce the risk of flooding, collecting rainwater and reducing, reusing and recycling wherever possible.
The results will be announced at the Britain in Bloom awards ceremony in Llandudno, North Wales on October 27.
Roger Burnett, Chair of the RHS Britain in Bloom judging panel, said: “Britain in Bloom really brings out the best in people and is a force for good across the UK.
“What started out as a civic pride campaign has evolved into something that helps tackle some of our most pressing issues. Taking part has far-reaching benefits, whether that is enhancing wellbeing by bringing greenery into urban areas, replacing concrete with planting to reduce the risk of flooding, or bringing people together to improve community cohesion.”