Scotland triumphs in RHS Britain in Bloom competition
Scotland’s community gardeners took home four top prizes and five gold medals at the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) annual Britain in Bloom awards ceremony in Belfast last night.
Scotland won the best city, large town, town and coastal community (under 12k) categories, giving it more titles than any other area of the UK.
Five finalists were chosen to fly the flag for the country following succesS in the Beautiful Scotland 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.
Aberdeen, Perth, Falkirk, Linlithgow in West Lothian and East Haven in Angus battled what judges have declared the toughest year on record with communities nationwide fighting to keep blooms alive.
Veteran finalist Aberdeen won the city category with its horticultural delights including its “jewel in the crown” parks, “beautiful and poignant” hospital roof garden, and wildlife areas. The city’s work with numerous community and school groups was also recognised with a Growing Communities award.
Perth came top of the large town category and won the discretionary Parks and Green Spaces award flor the quality of Riverside Park. Judges were impressed with the town’s passion and commitment, with standout features including the railway station, recycling walk and heather garden.
Linlithgow, winner of the best town category, was praised for its “magnificent’ community-led entry while East Haven won the coastal (under 12k) category thanks to its conservation efforts at a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) coastal habitat. The community has reduced plastic use and beach litter and helped to protect the rare greater yellow rattle plant and the UK’s smallest butterfly species, the small blue butterfly.
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.”
Derek Robertson, Chief Executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “We’re delighted that five groups from Scotland - Aberdeen, East Haven, Falkirk, Linlithgow and Perth – are Britain in Bloom finalists this year. It’s great to see such commitment to improving the environmental quality of the places they live in and care for – especially during such a hot summer.
“Keep Scotland Beautiful, in partnership with the RHS, has supported the work of these community groups, and the many others like them, for decades. Their hard work - raising horticultural standards, focusing on sustainability and reaching out to their communities - has had a positive impact on all who live in and visit these locations.”
The Scottish 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
20 October 2018