Dibbers at the ready as RHS reveals 2018 Britain in Bloom finalists
Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) reveals finalists in nationwide competition that rewards environmental responsibility, community participation and horticultural achievement
Now in its 54th year, 76 community gardening groups will battle it out to be crowned the cleanest, greenest and most beautiful place in the UK
South West region set to field the highest number of entries in 2018
Planters poised and dibbers at the ready as 76 community gardening groups prepare to battle it out in the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) 2018 Britain in Bloom competition.
Now in its 54th year, the nationwide competition pits rural villages, urban corners and city centres against one another across a range of criteria that includes horticultural know-how, community engagement, efforts to bolster biodiversity and climate change adaptation.
Finalists are put forward to the national final based on their progress locally and will be scored by a team of RHS national judges in the summer.
In 2018 the finalists will compete across 12 categories with the South West laying claim to the greatest number of finalists. Seven will represent the region, including two – Sidmouth and Truro - in the illustrious Champion of Champions category.
Didsbury in Manchester, the market towns of Market Bosworth in Leicestershire and Newcastle-under-Lyme in Staffordshire and the Welsh town of Usk complete this year’s Champion of Champions line up.
In 2017 the category was won by the Lancashire village of Elswick which impressed the judges with its high impact floral displays, heritage orchard and strong community support.
A new awards category has also been introduced for town and city centres in 2018 in recognition of the vital role of green spaces in urban areas and their positive impact on health and wellbeing, flood prevention and wildlife.
Chair of the Britain in Bloom judging panel, Darren Share said: “The Britain in Bloom campaign galvanises communities and provides the driving force for thousands of gardening enthusiasts across the country.
“Britain in Bloom groups work tirelessly throughout the year to tackle local issues and improve the place they call home. Everyone benefits from the work these groups carry out and I have seen first-hand the positive impact Britain in Bloom has in bringing communities together.”
Paul Hayhurst, Elswick in Bloom’s coordinator said: “We started entering Britain in Bloom to improve our village which two decades ago was uncared for and had problems with litter and vandalism. We never expected to win and everyone was absolutely over the moon. Since then, there’s been far more interest - neighbouring areas have been inspired to set up their own groups, we’ve been invited to give talks and we’ve had lots more visitors to Elswick. It’s been incredible.”
The RHS Britain in Bloom judges will visit the finalists in August with the winners of each category and finalists’ final score – ranging from Gold to Bronze - announced at an awards ceremony in Belfast on 19th October.
For the first time, a new BBC Two series following the quintessentially British competition is set to air this spring, featuring five of this year’s national finalists – Immingham, Lytham, Shrewsbury, Tewkesbury and Usk.
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
Britain in Bloom UK Finalists 2018 (by Region/Nation)
Bury St Edmunds Large Town
Hunstanton Coastal under 12k
Wisbech BIDs, Town & City Centres
Dalston Large Village
Penrith Large Town
Stanwix Urban Community
Guernsey (Floral Guernsey)
Forest Parish Large Village
Draycott Large Village
Evington Urban Community
Market Bosworth Champion of Champions
Heart of England
Halesowen Urban Community
Newcastle-under-Lyme Champion of Champions
Oswestry Large Town
Shrewsbury Small City
Upton Large Village
Jersey (Natural Jersey)
St. Clement Coastal under 12k
St. Helier Coastal over 12k
Bankside Urban Community
City of London Town
Ham & Petersham Small Town
Paddington Now BIDs, Town & City Centres
Durham Small City
Ponteland Small Town
Congleton Large Town
Didsbury Champion of Champions
Lytham Coastal under 12k
Rochdale Small City
Whalley Small Town
Scotland (Keep Scotland Beautiful)
East Haven Coastal under 12k
Falkirk Delivers BIDs, Town & City Centres
Perth Large Town
South and South East
Bournemouth Coastal over 12k
Cranbrook Small Town
Deal Coastal over 12k
Royal Tunbridge Wells Large Town
Wareham Small Town
Falmouth Coastal over 12k
Kingsbridge Small Town
Sidmouth Champion of Champions
St Austell BIDs, Town & City Centres
Truro Champion of Champions
Thames & Chilterns
Wolverton and Greenleys Urban Community
Ballymenal Large Town
Belfast City City
Derry City Small City
Hillsborough Large Village
Beverley Large Town
Filey Coastal under 12k
Leeds BIDs, Town & City Centres
Scholes Large Village
Colwyn Bay Large Town
Fishguard & Goodwick Coastal under 12k
Rhuddlan Small Town
Usk Champion of Champions