A great sense of community, hidden horticultural gems, and a sympathetic blending of Norwich’s historic buildings with new developments - these were some of the features that impressed the RHS Britain in Bloom judges who were visiting Norwich yesterday.

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The city is one of the finalists in the city category of the RHS Britain in Bloom 2012 competition, and yesterday the national judges Roger Burnett and Sharon Thomas were given a given a tour of our fine city by members of the Friends of Norwich in Bloom.

Starting at the City of Norwich School, they were taken to see the colourful floral displays adorning many of the city’s streets and roundabouts, and among the places they stopped were the Ipswich Road Ancient Hedge Project, Norwich City College, the Plantation Gardens, in Earlham Road, Grapes Hill Community Gardens, the City Hall and the Memorial Gardens, St Stephens Church, the Assembly House, the Castle gardens, Norwich Cathedral, the Adam and Eve pub, Mousehold Heath and Norwich Prison.

During their stop at the Assembly House, Mr Burnett said: “It is my second tour of Norwich and it has really been a pleasure to look around again.

“What shines through in Norwich is the community, and how the community are working in partnership with the local authority to help maintain the environment for residents and visitors alike to enjoy.

“The heritage in Norwich also stands out. Although we are called Britain in Bloom, we are really looking at both the built and natural environment and how they are embraced by the community.

“What comes through in Norwich is the vast array of heritage the city has got, and how well that is married with the new developments, like the Marks and Spencer building which is next to the church (St Stephen’s Church).”

Fellow judge Ms Thomas added: “We have been having a good day. We have seen some hidden gems on our tour like the Plantation Gardens, and I was quite impressed with the garden on Grapes Hill, that was very good.”

Friends of Norwich in Bloom ambassador Bill Webster said it was an honour for the city to host the RHS Britain in Bloom judges, and that the people of Norwich had done the city proud with their horticultural efforts this year.

He said they were due to find out the results of the national competition in October.

Norwich is competing against Northampton, Oldham, Westminster and Aberdeen in the city category this year. In 2008 the city won the urban regeneration category.

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

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