Durham awarded best small city and wins gold in community gardening competition
Gardeners in County Durham and Northumberland took home a top prize and a haul of medals at the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) Britain in Bloom awards ceremony in Belfast.
Durham won the small city category and was awarded a gold medal, with Morpeth and Ponteland in Northumberland also clinching gold and Tanfield in County Durham earning a silver gilt.
All battled what judges have declared the toughest year on record with communities fighting to keep blooms alive.
The four finalists were chosen following success in Northumbria in Bloom the previous year to compete against 76 groups from across the UK in 12 categories.
Durham’s creative floral displays
Durham competed against Derry in Northern Ireland, Rochdale and Shrewsbury to take the top title, impressing the RHS judges with its creative floral displays, standout horticulture and community partnerships, including at the cathedral, city centre roundabouts and Wharton Park.
Morpeth wowed with vibrant planting at Sanderson Arcade, pockets of wildflowers and a restored floral clock with a working mechanism in Carlisle Park.
Ponteland, on the edge of Newcastle, was praised for its “wonderful” community spirit, sensory garden and poppy display to commemorate the First World War centenary.
First-time finalist Tanfield was congratulated on its achievements over the past five years, thanks to the community’s “infectious enthusiasm and passion” for their village.
Achievement after terrible weather conditions
Finalists are judged on their horticultural achievement, community participation and environmental responsibility with the RHS judges visiting communities from the end of July after months of hot and dry weather.
Darren Share, chairman of the RHS Britain in Bloom judges, said: “This year’s finalists faced the most challenging conditions the competition has ever seen with much of the country under snow and ice at the start of spring followed by the joint-hottest summer on record.
“That so many groups have walked away with top medals is remarkable and a reflection of communities’ hard work, ingenuity and horticultural know-how.”
The Northumbrian finalists collected their awards from Chris Bavin, presenter of BBC Two’s Britain in Bloom.
The full results can be found here: www.rhs.org.uk/bloomawards2018.