Communities from all four corners of the UK are donning their gardening gloves as they prepare to battle it out in the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) 2019 Britain in Bloom competition.
Now in its 55th year, the fiercely fought contest will see 71 finalists put their horticultural skills, community spirit and green credentials to the test, from tiny Green Moor in Yorkshire with a population of just 90 to the high-rise business district of Canary Wharf in London’s docklands.
Finalists are put forward to the national final based on their progress regionally and will be scored by a team of RHS national judges in the summer.
This year, groups will compete across 12 categories with Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), town and city centres seeing an uplift in entries as communities tap into the benefits of green spaces. These include historic Bath, market town Bicester in Oxfordshire and first-time finalist Dumfermline in Scotland.
Shortlisted in the prestigious Champion of Champions category are five finalists that have been hand-picked by the judges based on their exceptional past performance. They are St Helier, Durham, Perth, Kingsbridge in Devon and Castlecaulfield in Northern Ireland.
The category was won last year by Truro in Cornwall whose exotic and drought-tolerant planting beat the heat and impressed the judges. The city also enjoyed cross-community support from the council, businesses and local residents.
Chair of the Britain in Bloom judging panel, Darren Share said: “Britain in Bloom isn’t just about spectacular floral displays and making our villages, towns and cities beautiful to live in and visit. Many of this year’s finalists are on the frontline of tackling some of the UK’s biggest challenges such as climate change, plastic waste on beaches and declining pollinator populations. The thousands of volunteers who will compete in this year’s competition are a barometer for growing trends and the importance and impact of greening our communities. I can’t wait to see their tremendous efforts this summer.”
Leslie Lawson-Kinross, Chair of Truro in Bloom who triumphed in 2018 said: “It was absolutely amazing to win and completely unexpected. We call Truro our ‘great little city’ and are really proud of where we live and keen to show it off – everyone puts so much hard work in all year round to keep the city looking its best. It’s a fabulous place to live with such community spirit.”
The RHS Britain in Bloom judges will visit the finalists during judging fortnight which starts on 29th July. The winners of each category and finalists’ medals – ranging from Gold to Bronze – will be announced in October.
BBC Two’s Britain in Bloom also returns for a second series in the spring with Chris Bavin visiting communities as they prepare for judging. This year’s groups include three national finalists – Pateley Bridge in Yorkshire, and Llandudno and Prestatyn, both in Wales.
For more information about RHS Britain in Bloom and to search for community gardening groups in your area please visit https://www.rhs.org.uk/communities/find-a-group-search-form