As the New Year approaches, councils, parks departments, community groups and Britain in Bloom groups will be turning their thoughts to Britain in Bloom 2016 and putting together ideas for their entry.
If you are new to Britain in Bloom, or thinking of entering for the first time, the following hints and tips might come in handy at this time of year.
- The competition is judged on a set of key criteria, so the best place to start is to ensure that you understand what these criteria are. The RHS website is a useful resource of advice and gives a breakdown of the judging guidelines which are important to bear in mind when planning an entry.
- The competition is judged on three main criteria which should underpin an entry and be demonstrable to the judges. Become familiar with each section so you know what the judges will be looking for. The sections are:
- Horticultural achievement
- Environmental responsibility
- Community participation
- Create a group with a clear structure. This may be best achieved by establishing a committee, which depending upon the size of the entry may then be divided into sub committees with specific areas of responsibility. The committee(s) should meet at regular intervals to make plans and review progress, with members allocated specific responsibilities to ensure that jobs get done.
- Include as many sectors of the community as you can and where possible, ensure they are represented on the committee e.g. local authority, school governors, local businesses etc. Don’t forget to contact your local regional Britain in Bloom group (there are 16 in the UK). They will be happy to offer advice and support.
- Create an action plan. Although judges’ visits take place in the summer, it’s never too early to start planning. Look at the judging criteria to generate ideas. Walk around the area to see things with a fresh pair of eyes – which places are in need of attention? Where offers great potential for additional planting, creating wild areas or community gardens? Remember, it’s all about involving the whole community to improve your environment.