Norwich scooped six accolades including best city at this year’s Anglia in Bloom awards, and now the city is hoping for further horticultural success in the national competition next month.

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Students’ views

Some of the City College Norwich students’ views about their Norwich in Bloom work:

Alex Riches, 18 and from Mulbarton, said: “It is really fun. I like meeting new people and getting to know them. The garden at St Stephen’s Church is my favourite display.

“I am really happy and proud of what we do. I was really excited about all the Anglia in Bloom awards.”

Shannon Clark, 20, from Norwich, said: “I like going out and about. I especially like doing the display around the water fountain at the Assembly House. In the summer we had geraniums there, and we are going to plant some pansies there.

“I hope people enjoy looking at the flowers.”

Hayden Yaxley, 18, from Diss, said: “I like working outside and doing the work we do. I like working with my friends and as a team, that is the main thing. The Castle Gardens and the bridge up to the castle was my favourite display this year with all the geraniums.”

Aidan Kemp, 18, from Bowthorpe, said he thought the plants and flowers were important for the city, and that his favourite floral display this year was on the castle bridge.

Joe Longhurst, 19, from Swaffham, has just started on the enterprise course and said he was looking forward to keeping the city’s floral displays looking great.

He said: “I like being in the fresh air and outdoors and I am looking forward to sowing more seeds and doing more planting.

“Norwich looks so nice with all the flower displays everywhere.”

Among the hard-working teams behind our fine city’s award-winning floral splendour are a group of dedicated City College Norwich students.

Each year members of the group, who are studying enterprise and foundation studies at the college, help to grow tens of thousands of flowers and plants for people to enjoy at the city’s landmarks and other places in Norwich.

Along with HM Prison Norwich, the City College students are key members of Norwich in Bloom’s “growing team”. Many of the geraniums, verbenas, marigolds and other colourful plants that could be seen around the city this summer originated from the college’s greenhouses, and with the summer now drawing to a close the students are now looking forward to their spring displays and planting polyanthus and pansies.

City College Norwich lecturer John Attoe, who leads the team, explained: “It all started in about 2004 with a little planter for the sheltered housing at Harry Perry Close and then it expanded – and now we grow about 60,000 plants a year and they are planted all over the city including Norwich Cathedral, the Assembly House, the Castle Mall, the Royal British Legion’s new community cafe, the Castle Gardens, Theatre Street and St Stephen’s Church, and, of course, all around the college.”

He explained that as well as playing a key role in keeping Norwich looking beautiful, the student’s horticultural work was also designed to help them develop their social skills, ability to work in a team, and general skills to prepare them for the working world, and he said they should all be proud of their achievements.

He added: “They are the only group in the college whose work gets seen by thousands of people. I have been told that the flower bed the students do by the Wellington statue at Norwich Cathedral is the most photographed flower bed in the city.”

Terry Bane, chairman of the Friends of Norwich in Bloom, also paid tribute to the hard work of the students.

He said: “Without the support and all the growing of plants by the students the city would not look as nice as it does.

“I love coming to the college, talking to the students and working with them. They really deserve recognition for all their hard work.”

As well as work around the city, the group has also had much success, with the Norwich and Norfolk Horticultural Society’s garden competition at the Royal Norfolk Show, winning a number of silver gilt medals for its garden designs in recent years.

• Thanks to the amazing horticultural efforts of a vast range of people, Norwich was honoured as the winner of the city (with up to 200,000 residents) category at the Anglia in Bloom awards this month.

The city’s Mancroft Ward (including The Lanes) won the urban community and most improved categories, while the University of East Anglia’s broad and marsh won the biodiversity award. Chapelfield Gardens was named the best public open space, and the Grapes Hill Community Garden was hailed the best community project.

The national RHS Britain in Bloom finals, for which Norwich is shortlisted in the city category, will take place in Guernsey in October. The city is competing against Northampton, Oldham, Westminster and Aberdeen. In 2008 Norwich won the urban regeneration category in the national awards.

• As well as the City College Norwich students, the Norwich Evening News will also be looking at the hard work of some of the other groups who help with the Norwich in Bloom campaign ahead of the RHS Britain in Bloom awards.

For more about Norwich in Bloom visit www.norwichinbloom.co.uk

• Are you involved in a new community project? Call reporter Emma Knights on 01603 772428 or email emma.knights@archant.co.uk

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