10 Days, 22 Judges, 78 Finalists and one Champion of Champions

Tuesday 25 July 2017

• Britain in Bloom judges hit the road in quest to find the cleanest, greenest and most beautiful places in the UK • Finalists plant over a million trees, bulbs and other plants • New award for Gardening in a Changing Climate

From Aberdeen in Scotland down to St Helier in Jersey, pairs of Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) judges will criss-cross the country from 31 July to 11 August to assess the 78 Britain in Bloom finalists.

In the 53rd year of this quintessentially British gardening competition, the judges will visit the villages, towns and cities chosen to fly the flag for their communities in the prestigious UK finals.

Bloom groups will be looking to impress the judges with their planting displays, tidy streets and community spirit, in the hope of being crowned one of the cleanest, greenest and most beautiful places in the UK.

Their entries will be marked against three key criteria: horticultural achievement, community participation and environmental responsibility. Each finalist will be awarded a Gold, Silver Gilt, Silver or Bronze medal, depending on the standard reached. There is also an award for being the best in each category. For example, the village, town or city category.

This year, Aberdeen (Scotland), Elswick (North West), Harrogate (Yorkshire), Hillsborough (Ulster), Oldham (North West), Portishead (South West) and St Peter Port (Guernsey) will be competing for the title of Champion of Champions, the ultimate Britain in Bloom award. On top of the category awards, finalists can be nominated for discretionary awards for achieving excellence in particular areas, such as overcoming adversity.

A new discretionary award for 2017 is Gardening in a Changing Climate, which will recognise a group’s commitment to sustainable environmental practices in horticulture. It reflects the recommendations made for gardeners in the RHS Gardening in a Changing Climate report, such as using planting to reduce the risk of flooding, collecting rainwater and reducing, reusing and recycling wherever possible.

The results will be announced at the Britain in Bloom awards ceremony in Llandudno, North Wales on 27 October.

Roger Burnett, Chair of the RHS Britain in Bloom judging panel, said: “Britain in Bloom really brings out the best in people and is a force for good across the UK.

“What started out as a civic pride campaign, has evolved into something that helps tackle some of our most pressing issues. Taking part has far-reaching benefits, whether that is enhancing wellbeing by bringing greenery into urban areas, replacing concrete with planting to reduce the risk of flooding, or bringing people together to improve community cohesion.

“It’s a real privilege to be judging the national finalists who represent the ‘best of the best’ of what can be achieved through community gardening. The thousands of volunteers deserve to be celebrated and have their tremendous efforts acknowledged.”

Andrea Van-Sittart, RHS Head of Community Outreach said: “The Britain in Bloom judging gives groups the chance to showcase all the wonderful work that they do, all year round.

“Over the past year alone, our national finalists have planted over a million trees, shrubs, bulbs and other plants, making places greener and more sustainable, and providing areas for the whole community to relax and enjoy. I wish all of this year’s finalists the very best of luck.”


Notes to editors

For more information please contact Claire Weaver in the RHS Press Office on 020 7821 3688 or claireweaver@rhs.org.uk 

2017 Discretionary Award categories

• Involving Children and Young People
• Growing Communities
• Gardening in a Changing Climate (The RHS Gardening in a Changing Climate report can be downloaded at: https://www.rhs.org.uk/science/gardening-in-a-changing-world/climate-change)  
• Wild About Gardens
• Parks and Green Spaces
• Overcoming Adversity
• Community Champions and Youth Champions

RHS Britain in Bloom
• The UK’s biggest community gardening campaign involves up to 300,000 passionate local volunteers who work year-round to keep our neighbourhoods and streets green, clean and thriving.
• 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 organiser and has 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.) and has grown to over 1,800 groups.
• Since 1964, Bloom has evolved from what many saw as a rural, hanging basket competition into a major socio-environmental campaign that is improving villages, towns and cities across the UK.

To find out more, visit: www.rhs.org.uk/communities, Facebook or Twitter (#ourbloom)

About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood to inspire passion and excellence in the science, art and practice of horticulture. Our vision is to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener, healthier, happier and more beautiful place. We believe everyone in every village, town and city should benefit from growing plants to enhance lives, build stronger, healthier, happier communities and create better places to live.

We held our first flower shows in 1820, were granted a Royal Charter in 1861 and acquired RHS Garden Wisley, our flagship garden, in 1903. From our first meetings in a small room off London’s Piccadilly, we have grown to become the world’s largest gardening charity. At our gardens and shows and through our scientific research, publications, libraries and our education and community programmes we inspire a passion for gardening and growing plants, promote the value of gardens, demonstrate how gardening is good for us and explain the vital roles that plants undertake.

The RHS is committed to bring the joy of gardening to millions more people, inspire the next generation of gardeners and invest in the future to safeguard a £10.4 billion industry employing more than 300,000 people. We are entirely funded by our members, visitors and supporters. RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and help us secure a healthy future for gardening.

For more information call: 020 3176 5820 or visit www.rhs.org.uk/join RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262

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About the RHS

The RHS believes that gardening improves the quality of life and that everyone should have access to great garden experiences. As a charity we help to bring gardening into people's lives and support gardeners of all levels and abilities; whether they are expert horticulturists or children who are planting seeds for the very first time.

RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 0845 130 4646, or visit www.rhs.org.uk

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262