Newcastle-under Lyme has been awarded RHS gold and the accolade of Overall Winner in the UK finals of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Britain in Bloom competition – the UK’s biggest community gardening competition.
44 community gardening groups, who had all impressed their local judges the year before, were nominated to represent their region or nation in the UK Finals 2023. Newcastle-under-Lyme achieved a gold award in the Small City Category as well as Overall Winner. The 12 category winners (listed in full below), from 44 villages, towns and cities, were: Aberdeen; Better Bankside; Brandon; Churchtown; Darlington; East Haven; Kinnesswood; Lytham; Newcastle-under-Lyme; Oswestry; Redbourn and St Saviour. Britain in Bloom involves over 3,000 community groups and hundreds of thousands of local volunteers who work year-round to keep their neighbourhoods green and thriving.
Amongst its many gardening initiatives, Newcastle-under-Lyme, in Staffordshire, was recognised for its contribution to helping the town to become carbon neutral through planting a commemorative forest of 850 lime trees as well as other native broadleaf trees. The group also impressed the judges with the innovative and creative ways they worked with local groups, residents and school children to plant trees across the borough – with a ‘treetotalizer’ keeping a tally of 9,995 trees planted to date.
Darren Share, Chair of the RHS Britain in Bloom judges, said: “Newcastle-under-Lyme showed great vision and purpose. Concern for the environment and encouraging wildlife is at the heart of everything they do. We judge groups according to horticulture, environmental and community engagement criteria and the town of Newcastle-under-Lyme scored highly across all three areas ”
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.
Darren Share, Chair of the RHS Britain in Bloom judges, added: “Our congratulations go to all the RHS Britain in Bloom finalists for their incredible commitment and the difference their hard work makes to their communities. Groups were passionate and innovative, they showed how important it is for green space and environmental projects to be at the heart of community life.”
Other notable awards include:
- Kinnesswood in Bloom, Scotland, recognised as the winner of the Discretionary Award for Children and Young People’s Participation. They impressed the judges with their partnership with Portmoak Primary School including their recent projects creating a school pond, wooden wigwams, willow tunnel and planting 135 fruit trees.
- Abergavenny, Wales won the Sustainable Gardening Award. All the groups demonstrated plant friendly gardening, but Abergavenny really stood out with their holistic approach, which included inter-generational projects to get everyone in the community involved, citizen science, and sharing their learning and skills.
Rachel de Thame, gardener and broadcaster, presenting the awards, commented: “Britain in Bloom gardening groups give selflessly of their time and energy to make their communities better for everyone to enjoy. From engaging with young people, helping to grow food for those in need or providing plant displays to inspire a sense of pride. These groups are the heroes of our villages, towns and cities and keep our country blooming.”
Groups were presented with certificates and trophies at the RHS Britain in Bloom 2023 awards ceremony, held in London, and unveiled to the public on BBC’s The One Show.
Full results of the RHS Britain in Bloom 2023 UK Finals can be found at https://www.rhs.org.uk/get-involved/community-gardening/news/articles/bloom-awards-results.
About Britain in Bloom with the RHS
- UK’s biggest community gardening campaign involves around 3,500 community groups and hundreds of thousands of local volunteers who work year-round to keep our neighbourhoods and streets green, clean and thriving.
- Bloom groups compete in regional and national heats of the competition before being nominated to the RHS Britain in Bloom Finals.
- Bloom was started by the British Tourist Authority as a way to attract visitors to the UK through floral displays. In 2001, the RHS took over as organisers and have developed the campaign to include greater focus on community participation and environmental responsibility.
- In 2006, the RHS launched a new grass roots level for Bloom – It’s Your Neighbourhood (IYN) – which is aimed at small volunteer groups (such as youth groups, ‘Friends of’ groups, etc.)
- Since 1964, Bloom has evolved from what many saw as a rural hanging basket competition to a major socio-environmental campaign that is improving villages, towns and cities across the UK.
For more information about RHS Britain in Bloom visit https://www.rhs.org.uk/get-involved/britain-in-bloom
About the RHS
Since our formation in 1804, the RHS has grown into the UK’s leading gardening charity, touching the lives of millions of people. Perhaps the secret to our longevity is that we’ve never stood still. In the last decade alone we’ve taken on the largest hands-on project the RHS has ever tackled by opening the new RHS Garden Bridgewater in Salford, Greater Manchester, and invested in the science that underpins all our work by building RHS Hilltop – The Home of Gardening Science.
We have committed to being net positive for nature and people by 2030. We are also committed to being truly inclusive and to reflect all the communities of the UK.
Across our five RHS gardens we welcome more than three million visitors each year to enjoy over 34,000 different cultivated plants. Events such as the world famous RHS Chelsea Flower Show, other national shows, our schools and community work, and partnerships such as Britain in Bloom, all spread the shared joy of gardening to wide-reaching audiences.
Throughout it all we’ve held true to our charitable core – to encourage and improve the science, art and practice of horticulture –to share the love of gardening and the positive benefits it brings.
For more information visit www.rhs.org.uk.