Friday 25th October was a very important date for many Britain in Bloom entrants up and down the country as it was the day that winners of the national Britain in Bloom awards were announced. 2019 marks the 55th year of the annual competition.
This year’s event took place in London at the RHS Lindley Hall with awards presented by former TV presenter, author and actress Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE, Vice President of the RHS.
Notable successes during the evening included Amberol customer Perth, who walked away with the prestigious Champion of Champions award. Perth’s entry was commended for the amount of planning and collaboration that it demonstrated.
Known as the ‘Fair City’, judges were impressed by the creation of urban green spaces as well as initiatives around pollinator-friendly planting which saw many seasonal bedding displays exchanged for plants such as foxgloves, Salvia and flowering shrubs to provide year-round food for bees and other wildlife.
Environmental issues were also noted, including a campaign designed to raise awareness of and collect plastic waste. In fact, sustainability underpinned much of the Scottish city’s entry with the River Tay lined by parks, gardens and biodiversity areas, some of which have been specifically designed to mitigate flood risk.
Other initiatives in Perth included a heather collection with in excess of 500 different varieties of heather; the creation of council-installed mini parks and 700 hanging baskets which were sponsored by local businesses to help offset the cost.
Another of Amberol’s customers north of the border, the university town of St. Andrews, walked away with the national coastal award. However, it’s not all about winning.
“Everyone who reaches the finals, both regional and national, has every reason to feel a great sense of achievement,” commented Amberol’s managing director, Patience Atkinson-Gregory. “In fact, we believe that everyone who takes part in the competition deserves to be commended for their dedication to improving their environment. Of course, it is a competition, and so there has to be winners, but there are certainly no losers as everyone gains from the hard work of these community-minded people.”
As in 2018, there were 12 different categories as well as special discretionary awards. Amberol customers were well-represented with 31 groups making the national finals. Other successful entries by Amberol customers included Penrith in Cumbria who took home Gold in the large town category. The judges were particularly impressed by displays at the town’s railway station, as well as work put in by the town's community gardeners, particularly in growing edibles in public spaces, some of which are donated to a local food bank. This initiative also earned Penrith a special discretionary award for supporting and growing communities.
Other success for Amberol customers included two entrants Garstang and Halstead, who were selected for the special discretionary award: ‘Wise Ways with Water’, as well as category wins for Biddulph in the Large Town award and Derry in the Small City category, Llandudno in Large Coastal and Goring on Thames in the Small Town categories. Farnham in Surrey also walked away the Business Improvement Award, one of the newer categories.
Darren Share, chairman of the RHS Britain in Bloom judging panel was impressed with the standard and range of entries saying: “Congratulations to all of this year’s UK finalists. It’s incredibly humbling to hear about the huge efforts they’ve invested in making our villages, towns and cities greener places to live, work and visit.
“This makes a tremendous difference locally but has a wider impact too. Gardeners are increasingly having to respond to the changing climate, declining pollinator numbers and plastic waste and more communities are galvanizing people around these issues to bring about positive change.”
The full list of Britain in Bloom winners can be seen here.
Although the national awards have only recently been announced, In Bloomers are never at rest. Councils and Britain in Bloom groups across the UK will now be planning for next year. If you are interested in incorporating self-watering planters into your entry for 2020, do get in touch. Call us on 01773 830 930 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a friendly, no obligation chat about how we could help you make a visible difference to your community.
Together, we are facing a truly unparalleled situation. The global coronavirus pandemic is affecting all of our families, our businesses, our communities, and our way of life. During this time, I wanted to reach out and update you on how we’re approaching the situation at Amberol.