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Britain in Bloom winners 2017

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Celebrating... the Elswick in Bloom team. Picture; RHS/Mark Waugh
Celebrating... the Elswick in Bloom team. Picture; RHS/Mark Waugh

Lancashire town triumphs as Champion of Champions

Britain in BloomElswick in Bloom has been awarded the Champion of Champions award in 2017’s Britain in Bloom competition, held on Friday, October 27 at a ceremony in Llandudno.

In the competition’s 53rd year, the event was hosted by presenter and garden designer James Alexander-Sinclair, with 78 groups chosen to represent their region or nation following success in their respective areas last year.

Elswick in Bloom represented the North West region and battled against Aberdeen, Harrogate, Hillsborough in Ulster, Oldham, Portishead and St Peter Port in Guernsey to win the award.

By the way, ignore the nonsense about the group ‘cheating’ in some unsavoury headlines today – nothing to do with this year’s award.

Their entry impressed the RHS judges with bold floral displays, community participation, and environmental responsibility.

Community orchard

The group created a community orchard, beehives, re-planted native primroses, crocus corms, tulips and bluebell bulbs, bird boxes and bug hotels.

A recycling scheme made use of old Christmas trees to help stabilize sand dunes on the nearby coast.

Roger Burnett, chairman of the RHS Britain in Bloom judges, said: “It’s clear that for the people of Elswick, Britain in Bloom is not only a competition but a way of life. The group’s entry was fantastic, very well thought through and of the highest standard.

“Elswick in Bloom’s many volunteers should be applauded for how they’ve turned the village round into somewhere that is clean, green, beautiful and a source of pride for the whole community.”

Discretionary awards

The discretionary awards are given to recognise excellence in specific areas or categories. The winners are:

Involving Young People: Brighter Bothwell, Scotland – ‘An outstanding example of how to engage children and young people in horticulture as a way to help them learn about nature, growing and the environment.’

Wild About Gardens: Newcastle Under Lyme, Heart of England – Extensive wildflower and pollinator beds, in line with the Wild About Gardens campaign, run by the RHS in partnership with the Wildlife Trusts.

Gardening In A Changing Climate: Bothwell Community Garden, Scotland – Singled out by the judges for the use of renewable energy, water conservation, reuse of materials, an all-organic policy and beekeeping.  

Overcoming Adversity: Bury in Bloom, North West – Tackling vandalism ‘head-on’ with resolve.  

Overcoming Adversity: Forres in Bloom, Scotland – Forres adapted to the major challenge of its local plant and gardening materials supplier closing. The group grew more than 30,000 bedding plants in a small nursery.

Parks and Green Spaces: Seaton Park, Aberdeen, Scotland – Flood mitigation measures, ‘an impressive range of trees and shrubs across the whole park, wide successional planting and some outstanding specimen trees.’ It also hosts activities to suit people from all parts of the community.

Growing Communities: Oldham, North West – Programme of community involvement, known as Bloom and Grow, a range of ‘growing hubs’, including food growing initiatives in parks, garden competitions, a Love Where You Live campaign and ‘fruit commuter routes’.  

Growing Communities: Walthamstow, London – A public vegetable plot, meadow, orchard, village square and community shop.

Full results

  • Aberdeen (Champion of Champions, Scotland) Gold
  • Aldridge (Urban Community, Heart of England) Gold
  • Altrincham (Large Town, North West) Silver Gilt
  • Ballymena (Large Town, Ulster) Silver Gilt
  • Barnoldswick (Town, North West) Silver Gilt
  • Belfast (Large City, Ulster) Silver Gilt
  • Belper (Large Town, East Midlands) Gold
  • Blackburn Town Centre (Business Improvement District, North West) Gold
  • Bothwell (Small Town, Scotland) Silver Gilt
  • Bray (Small Village, Thames and Chilterns) Silver Gilt
  • Bury (Small City, North West) Silver Gilt
  • Cannington (Large Village, South West) Silver Gilt
  • Canterbury (Small City, South East) Gold
  • Chesham (Large Town, Thames and Chilterns) Silver Gilt
  • Clifton (Urban Community, South West) Silver Gilt
  • Colchester (Small City, Anglia) Silver Gilt
  • Coupar Angus (Large Village, Scotland) Gold
  • Croston (Large Village, North West) Silver Gilt
  • Cullybackey (Large Village, Ulster) Silver Gilt
  • Dalston (Large Village, Cumbria) Gold
  • Deal (Coastal >12,000, South East) Silver Gilt
  • Derry City (Small City, Ulster) Gold
  • Didsbury (Urban Community, North West) Gold
  • Donaghmore (Village, Ulster) Gold
  • Elswick (Champion of Champions, North West) Gold
  • Farnham (Large Town, South East) Gold
  • Filby (Village, Anglia) Gold
  • Forres (Town, Scotland) Gold
  • Halstead (Town, Anglia) Gold
  • Harrogate (Champion of Champions, Yorkshire) Gold
  • Hillsborough (Champion of Champions, Ulster) Gold
  • Hunstanton (Coastal <12,000, Anglia) Silver Gilt
  • Hutton Cranswick (Large Village, Yorkshire) Gold
  • Kendal (Large Town, Cumbria) Silver Gilt
  • Kilconquhar (Small Village, Scotland) Silver Gilt
  • Kirkcaldy (Small City, Scotland) Silver Gilt
  • Littleover (Urban Community, East Midlands) Silver
  • Llandudno (Coastal >12,000, Wales) Gold
  • London Borough of Ealing (Large City, London) Silver
  • London Borough of Hillingdon (Large City, London) Gold
  • London Borough of Islington (City, London) Silver
  • London Borough of Richmond upon Thames (City, London) Silver
  • London Borough of Tower Hamlets (City, London) Silver Gilt
  • London Bridge (Business Improvement District, London) Gold
  • Mansfield (Business Improvement District, East Midlands) Silver Gilt
  • Market Bosworth (Large Village, East Midlands) Gold
  • Newcastle (Coastal <12,000, Ulster) Silver Gilt
  • Newcastle-under-Lyme (Small City, Heart of England) Gold
  • Newquay (Coastal >12,000, South West) Gold
  • North Berwick (Coastal <12,000, Scotland) Gold
  • Norwich (Business Improvement District, Anglia) Gold
  • Oadby & Wigston (Small City, East Midlands) Silver Gilt
  • Oldham (Champion of Champions, North West) Gold
  • Otley (Town, Yorkshire) Silver Gilt
  • Pebworth (Village, Heart of England) Silver Gilt
  • Pembrey & Burry (Port Town, Wales) Silver Gilt
  • Penrith (Business Improvement District, Cumbria) Gold
  • Ponteland (Small Town, Northumbria) Silver Gilt
  • Portishead (Champion of Champions, South West) Gold
  • Randalstown (Small Town, Ulster) Gold
  • Sark (Village, Guernsey) Silver Gilt
  • Sherborne (Town, South West) Silver Gilt
  • Sidmouth (Coastal <12,000, South West) Gold
  • Silloth-on-Solway (Coastal <12,000, Cumbria) Silver Gilt
  • St Aubin (Village, Jersey) Gold
  • St Helier (Coastal >12,000, Jersey) Gold
  • St Peter Port (Champion of Champions, Guernsey) Gold
  • St Saviour (Town, Jersey) Silver Gilt
  • Stanghow (Small Village, Northumbria) Gold
  • Starbeck (Urban Community, Yorkshire) Silver Gilt
  • Truro (Large Town, South West) Gold
  • Uddingston (Urban Community, Scotland) Gold
  • Uppingham (Small Town, East Midlands) Gold
  • Usk (Large Village, Wales) Gold
  • Uttoxeter (Town, Heart of England) Silver Gilt
  • Walthamstow Village (Urban Community, London) Gold
  • Wareham (Small Town, South) Silver Gilt
  • Whitby (Coastal <12,000, Yorkshire) Silver Gilt
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Mandy Watson is a freelance journalist and an incurable plantaholic. MandyCanUDigIt grew from the tiny seed of a Twitter account into the rainforest of information you see before you. Gardening columnist for the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail and editor of the Teesdale Mercury Magazine. Attracted by anything rebellious, exotic and nerdy, even after all these years. Passionate about northern England and gardens everywhere. Falls over a lot.

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