Cumbria’s community gardeners took home a haul of medals at the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) annual Britain in Bloom awards ceremony in Belfast last night.
Five finalists were chosen to fly the flag for the region following success in the Cumbria in Bloom competition the previous year. A total of 76 groups from across the UK competed in 12 categories with each also vying for a gold, silver gilt, silver or bronze medal.
Dalston scooped gold in the large village category with market town Penrith, village of Bothel, and Stanwix in Carlisle awarded silver gilt and Ulverston earning a silver. All battled what judges have declared the toughest year on record with communities nationwide fighting to keep blooms alive.
Rural village Dalston impressed the RHS judges with its floral arrangements, including its “fantastic begonias” at the local bowling club, and ‘Doorstep Challenge’ which encourages residents to green the front of their homes.
Penrith’s entry in the large town category was singled out for its community spirit which sees an army of volunteers, including a plant-watering window cleaner, help maintain the town’s floral displays and fruit and veg plots. Crops from the latter donated to the Salvation Army’s weekly food parcel scheme.
The full results for the RHS Britain in Bloom finalists representing Cumbria are:
|Penrith||Large Town||Silver Gilt|
|Stanwix||Urban Community||Silver Gilt|
Finalists are judged on their horticultural achievement, community participation and environmental responsibility with the RHS judges visiting communities from the end of July after months of hot and dry weather.
Darren Share, Chair of the RHS Britain in Bloom judges, said: “This year’s finalists faced the most challenging conditions the competition has ever seen with much of the country under snow and ice at the start of spring followed by the joint-hottest summer on record.
“That so many groups have walked away with top medals is remarkable and a reflection of communities’ hard work, ingenuity and horticultural know-how.”
Cllr Paul Nedved, Stanwix in Bloom Coordinator said: “Stanwix in Bloom. achieved a fantastic silver gilt award in the urban community section just pipped by Halesowen who also got a silver gilt to the winner of the urban.category.
“We beat the likes of Bankside in London, Evington in Leicester and Wolverton and Greenleys, much larger communities with greater resources.
“We are absolutely thrilled for the community of Stanwix to achieve such a great result in the Britain in Bloom Finals.
“We received an amazing Gold for Community Participation and silver gilts for Horticultural Achievement and Environmental Responsibility sections of our Award.
“The judges commented that “the community was spotlessly clean with an absolute minimum of weeds and litter”.
“Stanwix School and Playgroup, Friends of Rickerby Park, Carr’s Group and Barn Close were singled out for praise.
“The latter, Barn Close Residential Home ‘was a credit to gardener David with the gardens presented to a high standard for the benefit of the residents’.
“The School and Playgroup were praised for their hanging baskets and planters and integrating gardening and art into their activities. Youngsters from the school were proudly displaying their artwork outside the nursery and primary schools.
“They appreciated the 30+ hanging baskets provided by Stanwix in Bloom and commented on the consistently high standard of the front gardens of Knowe Road and Larch Drive , part of the judges route.as well as Eden Mount, Church St and Kells Place.
“Support and sponsorship from local business was also commented on as part of our gold award for community participation.
“They praised a good relationship between the Friends of Rickerby Park and Carlisle City Council staff.
“There was also strong support from the commercial sector such as volunteers from ASDA and McDonald’s as well as various community organisations, youth groups and individuals.
“Thank you to all sections of the Stanwix Community for the pride in their community now recognised by national RHS judges.”
The Cumbrian finalists collected their awards from Chris Bavin, presenter of BBC Two’s Britain in Bloom TV series and guest speaker at the awards ceremony.
The full results for RHS Britain in Bloom 2018 are here: www.rhs.org.uk/bloomawards2018