What's happening this year
Now in its 54th year, the nationwide competition pits rural villages, urban corners and city centres against one another across a range of criteria that includes horticultural know-how, community engagement, efforts to bolster biodiversity and climate change adaptation. Finalists are put forward to the national finals based on their progress locally and will be scored by a team of RHS judges this summer.
Competing across 12 overall categories, the South West lays claim to the greatest number of entries. Seven will represent the region, including two – Sidmouth and Truro - in the illustrious Champion of Champions category. The other Champion of Champions contenders are Didsbury in Manchester, Market Bosworth in Leicestershire, Newcastle under Lyme in Staffordshire and the Welsh town of Usk. In 2017 the category was won by the Lancashire village of Elswick which impressed the judges with its high impact floral displays, heritage orchard and strong community support.
A new awards category has also been introduced for town and city centres this year in recognition of the vital role of green spaces in urban areas and their positive impact on health and wellbeing, flood prevention and wildlife.
Darren Share, Chair of the Britain in Bloom judging panel said:
“The Britain in Bloom campaign galvanises communities and provides the driving force for thousands of gardening enthusiasts across the country. Britain in Bloom groups work tirelessly throughout the year to tackle local issues and improve the place they call home. Everyone benefits from the work these groups carry out and I have seen first-hand the positive impact Britain in Bloom has had in bringing communities together.”
'Britain in Bloom groups work tirelessly to tackle local issues and improve the place they call home.'
A word from last year's Champion of Champions
Paul Hayhurst, Elswick in Bloom’s coordinator said: “We started entering Britain in Bloom to improve our village which two decades ago was uncared for and had problems with litter and vandalism. We never expected to win and everyone was absolutely over the moon. Since then, there’s been far more interest - neighbouring areas have been inspired to set up their own groups, we’ve been invited to give talks and we’ve had lots more visitors to Elswick. It’s been incredible.”
The RHS Britain in Bloom judges will visit the finalists in August with the winners of each category, ranging from gold to bronze, announced at an awards ceremony in Belfast on 19 October. Check out the full list of 2018 Britain in Bloom finalists.
For the first time, a new BBC Two series following the quintessentially British competition is set to air this spring, featuring five of this year’s national finalists - Immingham, Lytham, Shrewsbury, Tewkesbury and Usk.
If you're interested in being part of Britain in Bloom, find out more.