Norfolk strikes gold with success in Britain in Bloom competition
PUBLISHED: 15:31 26 October 2019 | UPDATED: 15:31 26 October 2019
West Norfolk Council
Community gardeners in Norwich, Hunstanton and Filby have seen their efforts bear fruit after winning medals in the Royal Horticultural Society's prestigious Britain in Bloom competition.
The three finalists from Norfolk were among those representing the region following success in the Anglia in Bloom competition last year.
A total of 68 groups from across the UK competed in 12 categories with each also vying for gold, silver gilt, silver or bronze medals.
Hunstanton in the coastal category and Filby in the village section both scooped gold medals, reflecting what were described as the "exceptional standard" of their entries, while Norwich took home silver gilt.
MORE: Anglia in Bloom - how did your town do?
Finalists were judged not only on their floral displays but environmental and community efforts. Each was visited by a pair of RHS judges over a fortnight from the end of July.
Hunstanton's Esplanade Gardens were described as a "real joy" and its community orchard and efforts to reduce plastic use through awareness-raising displays also impressed judges.
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In Filby, which has won the village category on a number of previous occasions, as well as being Champion of Champions in 2015, beautiful floral displays and well-kept, colourful front gardens throughout the village again impressed.
Another standout was the drought garden, featuring planting that can cope with extended dry spells including a 3D Sempervivum tortoise.
Norwich was one of four finalists in the running to be crowned winner of the city category, up against Oldham, Reading, and the City of Westminster, which was named category winner.
Norwich in Bloom's Growing Communities project, which has seen lots of new planting including wildflowers to help sustain beneficial insects, was praised by the judges.
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The project has seen more than 60 varieties of plants grown by various volunteer community groups and at City College Norwich.
Participants were encouraged to plant near housing and roads, as well as in gardens, parks and community spaces.
The Anglian finalists collected their awards from Baroness Floella Benjamin, RHS vice president, at the ceremony held in the RHS Lindley Hall in London.
Darren Share, chair of the RHS Britain in Bloom judges, said: "It's incredibly humbling to hear about the huge efforts they've invested. This makes a tremendous difference locally but has a wider impact too. 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."