Secrets of Shrewsbury’s Britain in Bloom Success

Secrets of Shrewsbury’s Britain in Bloom Success

One of our favourite episodes of BBC2’s recent Britain in Bloom series involved presenter Chris Pavin following the team behind Shrewsbury’s successful 2017 bid to win its customary Gold Award in the ‘small city’ category. At Amberol we are lucky to work with Shrewsbury in Bloom every year by supplying our self-watering planters for the team to create their stunning floral displays in. 

A floral legacy 

Shrewsbury, which is also known as ‘the town of flowers’,  has a 37-year history of competing in Britain in Bloom and its prizewinning record means it is seen as the gold standard when it comes to creating showstopping displays every summer. Indeed, Victorian sunken garden, The Dingle, which is a focal point of Shrewsbury in Bloom’s displays each year, was once the responsibility of the legendary TV gardener, Percy Thrower. Percy’s legacy is kept alive with the use of original cuttings from his plants. Not only that, every year his daughter Margaret Thrower welcomes the Britain in Bloom judges to The Dingle at the beginning of their tour. 

Home to over 700 self-watering planters

Each year, an amazing 300, 000 plants go into Shrewsbury’s Britain in Bloom displays. This is achieved with the backing of Shrewsbury Town Council which annually invests £250, 000 and 50 employees in Britain in Bloom. This is considered to be more than worthwhile as the town’s fame as a Britain in Bloom must-see destination attracts an estimated 1.5 million day visitors to Shrewsbury every year. As well as being planted into beds, the flowers are arranged in 450 self-watering hanging baskets, 160 barrels and 160 up-the-pole baskets around the town. The centrepiece is a 20ft tall hanging basket pole which displays 16 hanging baskets. 

A community achievement 

Shrewsbury takes its commitment to Britain in Bloom seriously, in terms of fulfilling the criteria of horticultural achievement, environmental responsibility and community participation. In practice, this means that not only does the town come alive with colour every summer, there is a real feeling of community engagement too. In the TV show, Chris Pavin follows the progress of a group of residents of a sheltered housing scheme as they create a sustainable garden. While the end result may not have the same wow factor as The Dingle in Quarry Park, the resulting garden and the bonds that were formed in its creation are every bit as important. 

If you would like advice or information on which of Amberol’s self-watering planters will best suit your Britain in Bloom plans, please call us on 01773 830 930 or email

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