Britain in Bloom judges were wowed by Amersham’s stunning sustainable displays and engagement with the community as they won a gold medal and took the top prize in the Finals of the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) UK-wide community gardening competition.
The Britain in Bloom UK Finals returned after two years absence, with an increased focus on the environment. The 45 finalists from across the UK, who were nominated to the Finals after impressing the judges in their regional and national competitions, rose to the challenge of limiting their environmental impact, with more water butts, recycled materials and drought-tolerant species than ever before in their displays.
Amersham, a town in Buckinghamshire, took great care to ensure there were flowering varieties year-round, including over 25,000 bulbs flowering this spring, swapping out short lived annuals and increasing wildflowers in the town by 30%.
The group also impressed with the innovative and creative ways they engaged the community. All local schools, including secondary schools, took part, and every child aged 3-6 received a packet of bee-friendly seeds. As testament to this, the town also scooped discretionary awards for its sustainable gardening and children and young people’s participation.
In addition to being awarded a gold, silver gilt, silver or bronze medal, groups compete in categories including town, village and Business Improvement District, to be named overall category winners, and can be nominated for a series of discretionary awards by a panel of judges.
Some of the judge’s highlights in Amersham included planters under 85 of the street signs that were filled with pollinator-friendly perennials and adopted by residents, careful consideration of the right plants in the right place ensuring flowers, trees and shrubs were thriving across the town despite the drought and vibrant displays in the High Street.
Judges deemed the crowning glory to be the Memorial Garden, with tactile sensory displays, rose garden and a green wall, which allowed the community to meet and enjoy peace and solace.
Darren Share, Chair of the RHS Britain in Bloom judges, said: “Congratulations to all the finalists for putting on such impressive displays this year while embracing sustainable horticulture. We enjoyed seeing the forward-thinking ways groups are working to make their planting more resilient to climate change and also contributing to carbon reduction in their communities.
“Amersham were well-deserving winners, with their stunning horticulture backed up with a holistic approach to benefiting nature and the environment.”
Other winners on the night included Cumbrian village Irthington, competing in the competition for the first time and formed during lockdown by then 18 year old Danny Poland. Danny, who won the competition’s Young Champion Award, and the team combatted this summer’s dry weather with his inventive ‘hydration station’ – a bicycle towing a water butt.
Rochdale in Greater Manchester won their category, small city, with 60 displays making up their entry and filling the city with colour and nature. They have planted over 3,000 trees, created three wildflower meadows and brightened alleyways with colourful planting. The group has engaged a wide variety of groups in the community, including hospices, mosques, schools and businesses all getting involved in gardening.
Rachel de Thame, presenting the awards, commented: “It has been fantastic to celebrate gardening groups from across the UK who contribute so much to their communities. From helping wildlife, to engaging young people in the power of plants and helping grow a green future, all of the volunteers work tirelessly to create areas local people can be proud of. Britain is most certainly blooming.”
Winners were presented with their trophies at the RHS Britain in Bloom 2022 awards ceremony, held this afternoon in London, and unveiled to the public on BBC One’s The One Show.
Full results of the RHS Britain in Bloom 2022 UK Finals can be found at www.rhs.org.uk/get-involved/community-gardening/news/articles/bloom-awards-results