The Scottish city of Perth has been awarded top prize and crowned ‘Champion of Champions’ in the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) 55th annual Britain in Bloom community gardening competition.
In the same year that environmental and community efforts were given greater weighting in the judging criteria, the ‘Fair City’ wowed RHS judges with its urban green spaces, pollinator-friendly planting and campaign to raise awareness of and collect plastic waste.
Sustainability is at the heart of Perth’s approach. Parks, gardens and biodiversity hotspots line the River Tay, some of which are designed to mitigate flood risk in what has been Scotland’s second wettest summer on record, and city-wide, many seasonal bedding displays have been swapped for plants including foxgloves, Salvia and flowering shrubs to provide year-round food for bees and other wildlife.
The jewel in the crown is the volunteer-maintained heather collection in Riverside Park, featuring over 500 varieties and beloved by insects including the buff-tailed bumblebee. Grey streets have also been transformed with colourful council-installed mini parks known as ‘parklets’ and 700 hanging baskets sponsored by local businesses.
Perth fought off four other contenders to win – Durham, Kingsbridge in Devon, Castlecaulfield in Northern Ireland and St Helier in Jersey – with a total of 68 communities competing across 12 categories that include best village, urban community and city. Each is nominated for the UK finals based on their regional success and judged on their horticultural achievement, community participation and environmental responsibility, taking home either a gold, silver gilt, silver or bronze medal.
The exceptional standard of Perth’s entry also earned them a gold medal and discretionary award for the quality of Riverside Park. Three other category wins make Scotland the most successful competing nation or region in 2019: Bridge of Earn won the Large Village category, Haddington scooped the Town prize and St Andrews walked away with the Coastal award.
Community food growing, use of upcycled materials and the 50th anniversary of the moon landing were popular themes in this year’s competition with Bath’s Business Improvement District (BID) bursting with edibles such as herbs and salad crops, vibrant floral displays made by children from plastic collected during beach clean-ups in St Helier and a large-scale lunar landscape of low-growing plants in Oldham.
Darren Share, Chair of the RHS Britain in Bloom judges, said: “Congratulations to Perth for its forward-thinking environmental initiatives, superb horticulture and far-reaching community support, with its small army of volunteers contributing 5,000 hours every year.
“Britain in Bloom is no longer just about spectacular floral displays, gardeners are increasingly having to respond to the changing climate, declining pollinator numbers and plastic waste and more communities are galvanizing people around these issues to bring about positive change. Perth is a fine example of what can be achieved.”
Perth were presented with their trophy at the RHS Britain in Bloom 2019 awards ceremony, held last night at the RHS Lindley Hall in London.
The full results from the RHS Britain in Bloom 2019 UK Finals are listed below.
RHS Britain in Bloom 2019 UK Finals
Full results (finalists listed alphabetically and category winners highlighted):
|Amersham||Town||Thames & Chilterns||Gold|
|Bath Business Improvement District||BIDs, Town Centres & City Centres||South West||Gold|
|Bexhill-on-Sea||Large Coastal||South East||Silver Gilt|
|Bicester||BIDs, Town Centres & City Centres||Thames & Chilterns||Silver Gilt|
|Biddulph||Large Town||Heart of England||Gold & Category Winner|
|Bridge of Earn||Large Village||Scotland (Keep Scotland Beautiful)||Gold & Category Winner|
|Canary Wharf||BIDs, Town Centres & City Centres||London||Gold|
|Castlecaulfield||Champion of Champions||Ulster||Gold|
|Catterall||Large Village||North West||Silver Gilt|
|City of Westminster||City||London||Gold & Category Winner|
|Cranbrook||Small Town||South East||Silver Gilt|
|Cranleigh||Town||South East||Silver Gilt|
|Curry Rivel||Large Village||South West||Silver Gilt|
|Derry||Small City||Ulster||Gold & Category Winner|
|Desford||Small Town||East Midlands||Silver Gilt|
|Dunfermline||BIDs, Town Centres & City Centres||Scotland (Keep Scotland Beautiful)||Silver Gilt|
|Durham||Champion of Champions||Northumbria||Gold|
|Farnham||BIDs, Town Centres & City Centres||South East||Gold & Category Winner|
|Garstang||Small Town||North West||Gold|
|Goring-on-Thames||Small Town||Thames & Chilterns||Gold & Category Winner|
|Green Moor||Village||Yorkshire||Gold & Category Winner|
|Haddington||Town||Scotland (Keep Scotland Beautiful)||Gold & Category Winner|
|Hale Village||Urban Community||London||Gold & Category Winner|
|Ham & Petersham||Small Town||London||Silver Gilt|
|Kingsbridge||Champion of Champions||South West||Gold|
|Kirkcaldy||Small City||Scotland (Keep Scotland Beautiful)||Silver Gilt|
|Llandudno||Large Coastal||Wales||Gold & Category Winner|
|Loughborough||Small City||East Midlands||Gold|
|Middleton-by-Wirksworth||Village||East Midlands||Silver Gilt|
|New Milton||BIDs, Town Centres & City Centres||South||Gold|
|Newport||Town||Heart of England||Gold|
|Newquay||Large Coastal||South West||Silver Gilt|
|Norton in Hales||Village||Heart of England||Gold|
|Pateley Bridge||Large Village||Yorkshire||Gold|
|Perth||Champion of Champions||Scotland (Keep Scotland Beautiful)||Gold & Category Winner|
|Reading||City||Thames & Chilterns||Gold|
|Royal Tunbridge Wells||Large Town||South East||Gold|
|Rugby||Small City||Heart of England||Silver Gilt|
|St Andrews||Coastal||Scotland (Keep Scotland Beautiful)||Gold & Category Winner|
|St Clement||Coastal||Jersey (Natural Jersey)||Silver Gilt|
|St Helier||Champion of Champions||Jersey (Natural Jersey)||Gold|
|St Just||Small Town||South West||Gold|
|St Aubin||Village||Jersey (Natural Jersey)||Silver Gilt|
|Stanwix||Urban Community||Cumbria||Silver Gilt|
|Titchfield||Large Village||South||Silver Gilt|
|Wilmslow||Large Town||North West||Silver Gilt|
|Winshill||Urban Community||Heart of England||Silver Gilt|
|Yeovil||Large Town||South West||Silver Gilt|
Britain in Bloom with the RHS Discretionary Awards:
The RHS Britain in Bloom Discretionary Award winners are selected by the RHS Britain in Bloom UK Judging Panel to recognise excellence in particular areas.
Involving Children and Young People
Recognising the efforts of a finalist or group in engaging with, supporting, and inspiring, the younger members of the community.
· Bridge of Earn, Scotland
Recognising the commitment of a finalist to using Britain in Bloom as a springboard for supporting and growing their communities.
· Penrith, Cumbria
Gardening in a Changing Climate
Recognising the commitment of a finalist or group to sustainable environmental practices in horticulture.
- Haddington, Scotland
Wild About Gardens
Recognising commitment of a finalist or group to supporting wildlife through gardening, based on the aims of the RHS and The Wildlife Trusts ongoing campaign to inspire people to garden for wildlife.
· Tanfield, Northumbria
Wise Ways with Water
Recognises commitment and efforts by finalists to adapt gardening practices to suit changing rainfall patterns and to make the best use of available fresh water reserves, as well as to educate the community on related topics.
· Garstang, North West
· Halstead, Anglia
· St Just, South West
Parks and Green Spaces
Recognising a publicly owned park or green space (free at the point of entry) and managed for the benefit of the local community. Nominees must be of the very highest quality and there must be evidence of a high level of community ownership and of adequate and sustainable resources to maintain and develop the space in the longer term.
- Perth, Scotland
Presented to individuals who demonstrated exceptional commitment and dedication to the Britain in Bloom cause in their community. This is a volunteer who has gone over and above to make their Bloom campaign a success.
· Ron Potter, Durham
· Cynthia Davis, Halstead
· Catherine Baxter, Harrogate
· Barbara Deason, Newport
· Ruth Menlove, Wilmslow
· Dennis Fletcher, Winshill
· Margaret Fletcher, Winshill
Young Champions (aged 21 years or younger)
- Emily Connor, Biddulph
- Jacob Bell, Ham & Petersham
- Jake Sinnamon, Castlecaulfield
- James Owen Thomas, Pateley Bridge