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New sustainability criteria for Britain in Bloom demonstrates commitment to the environment

New sustainability criteria for Britain in Bloom demonstrates commitment to the environment

After two years of disruption, postponements and adaptations, the national Britain in Bloom competition looks as if it will be up and running as normal in 2022. However, there will also be some changes to the judging criteria to reflect the competition’s commitment to environmental issues.

The RHS who run Britain in Bloom, has introduced a range of ecologically significant initiatives in recent years, including ‘Greening Grey Britain’ and a focus on ‘Planet Friendly Gardening’. This year, the changes aim to encourage community gardening groups to look for more ways of promoting biodiversity and benefitting the environment, from supporting wildlife to conserving water.

As manufacturers of self-watering planters that reduce the frequency of watering and ensure that plants are able to access moisture as and when required, water conservation is an issue that is close to our hearts. So, we are delighted to see it given prominence in the new guidance.

Why have the new criteria been introduced?

The changes for 2022 have come about in response to feedback from Britain in Bloom groups as well as due to a concern for the environment. Over 90% of In Bloom groups report that improving their local environment is the reason for their participation in the competition, and so it seems appropriate that the competition criteria should reflect this concern.

Kay Clark, Community Development Manager at the RHS commented: “The updates to the Britain in Bloom judging criteria bring it into line with what many community gardeners tell us they are already seeking to do – bring about positive change in their local environment for people and planet.

“The changes will by no means limit the horticulture that will be on show, instead we’re likely to see even more creative and ambitious displays that demonstrate the power of plants.”

What are the new sustainability criteria for Britain in Bloom?

Entrants should aim to:

  • Prioritise the use of perennial or pollinator-friendly plants where appropriate. While there is still a place for the use of annual bedding plants, it is advised that groups carefully consider their use and provenance.
  • Keep wildlife in mind by considering their needs in terms of habitat and food chains when creating or maintaining areas. An example of this would be avoiding hedge trimming during nesting season.
  • Look for ways to eliminate the use of peat, for example in propagating and raising plants.
  • Consider water conservation by minimising water use and reducing reliance on mains water supplies. This could include using self-watering planters or finding other ways to collect and distribute water e.g. through the use of water butts.
  • Consider plant choice carefully by selecting hardy plants that are less susceptible to pests and diseases. Consider swapping chemicals for more environmentally sound controls such as planting to attract insects that can help keep pests to a minimum or weeding by hand.
  • Audit the local environment with a view to developing a strategy to enhance problem areas through the use of plants, e.g. planting hedges along busy roads to trap particulate pollution

Working sustainably with Britain in Bloom groups

Amberol works with many In Bloom groups across the UK, as well as Tidy Town groups in Ireland. Managing director Patience Atkinson-Gregory is firmly in favour of the changes for 2022, commenting: “The RHS and Britain in Bloom do so much to raise awareness of important green issues and these new criteria can only serve to highlight these crucial issues even more clearly.

“We can all look for ways to enhance our world with sustainability in mind. For example, water conservation is one of the reasons that we developed our self-watering planters. And, although our planters are made from polyethylene, we have built in recycling as part of the supply chain. All our black litter bins, planters, benches and picnic tables are made from recycled materials, while our coloured products can be recycled at the end of their life. Furthermore, our planters have been known to last for over thirty years and beyond, making them an eco-conscious choice in terms of longevity as well as materials.”

Britain in Bloom, which has been running since 1963, has continued to grow over the decades and now involves around 3,500 community groups across the UK. For more information about sustainable gardening, visit the RHS website.

Can Amberol help you conserve water?

The simple answer is yes, our self-watering planters help to reduce water usage and waste. To find out more about the range, and how the self-watering feature works, call 01773 830 930 or email sales@amberol.co.uk.

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