BALLYMENA, Cullybackey and Randalstown are among five finalists from Northern Ireland who are competing in this year’s RHS Britain in Bloom competition.
Now in its 56th year, 70 competition finalists will be going all-out to showcase their horticultural skills, community and environmental efforts.
Finalists are put forward to the UK final based on their progress nationally and regionally and compete across 11 categories including village, town and coastal.
Representing Northern Ireland will be Ballymena, Belfast, Cullybackey, Donaghmore and Randalstown.
Each will be visited by a pair of RHS judges in August as they vie for a medal, a category win and to be named Champion of Champions.
Nearly two-thirds of finalists are participating in town, city or other urban categories, reflecting growing recognition of the importance of plants and green space for both wellbeing and the environment.
Last year, the competition was won by the Scottish city of Perth which impressed with its whole-community approach to sustainability, pollinator-friendly planting and campaign to raise awareness of and collect plastic waste.
Chair of the Britain in Bloom judging panel, Darren Share, said: “We’re noticing more towns and cities keen to tackle some of today’s most pressing challenges by tapping into the benefits of urban greening, with reasons ranging from concerns about our changing climate and air pollution to turning the tide on high street decline.”
John Summers OBE, Chair of Beautiful Perth, said: “Winning the Champion of Champions award has meant a great deal to everyone in Perth. We have had so many comments about how clean and green our city looks, and what a positive impact that has on the local economy and quality of life. Winning really has boosted pride in our Fair City of Perth.”
The Champion of Champions title, winners of each category and finalists’ medals – ranging from gold to bronze – will be announced in Manchester in October.
For more information about RHS Britain in Bloom and to search for community gardening groups in your area please visit https://www.rhs.org.uk/communities/find-a-group-search-form