Our Participation in RHS Britain in Bloom
RHS Britain In Bloom is a nationwide community gardening competition. More than 3,000 groups participate each year to help improve their local villages, towns and cities. Benefits include cleaner, greener and safer surroundings, a growing sense of community pride, increased commercial enterprise and tourism. Communities of all sizes take part each year to show off their achievements in environmental responsibility, community participation and, of course, horticultural achievement.
Altrincham enters the regional competition - North West In Bloom - and has been very successful to date. Since becoming a volunteer-led organisation, we have achieved a Gold award every year in the Large Towns category. This year (2017) we also entered the Town Centres category in association with Altrincham Unlimited. In 2016, after just three years as a voluntary group, we were nominated to represent the North West at the Britain In Bloom finals which take place on October 27th in Llandudno.
Horticultural Achievement attracts half of the overall marks we can attain. The juddges are looking at the choice and quality of plants, special features, innovation, design and colour. They also look at how sustainable our planting is and how we cultivate and maintain plant life. The whole town is considered – from hanging baskets to town centre planters, railing and lamp post planters, window boxes and doorway pots. Nowhere is ignored - from residential areas to the grounds of public buildings like schools and churches, the exterior of commercial premises, and of course public green spaces, parks and verges.
Environmental Responsibility is also assessed and a quarter of the overall marks can be awarded in this category. This means everything which affects the cleanliness of our streets and public spaces from natural debris, to litter, dog mess and graffiti and how we manage resources and reduce waste. How things look is also considered – from signage to art, landscaping and protecting our built heritage. Also assessed is the way we support wildlife and encourage biodiversity including our town’s natural heritage.
Community Participation also attracts up to a quarter of the overall marks. The judges look at development, continuity, education, collaboration, communication, publicity, fundraising and the sustainability of our project. They also assess year-round activity and future planning.
So you see, there’s a heck of a lot involved in Altrincham In Bloom’s work and in how the RHS Britain In Bloom judges assess the town. It’s not ‘just about flowers’.