Harrogate and Knaresborough category winners for Yorkshire in Bloom

Yorkshire in Bloom judging results have been announced revealing that gardening communities across the region are flourishing in their efforts to make Yorkshire look bloomin’ marvelous.

From Todmorden in the west, to Scarborough in the east and from Richmond in the north, to Sheffield in the south, all parts of Yorkshire are represented in the Yorkshire in Bloom campaign.

Harrogate – Large Town (35-100K) Gold Rose Award Category Winner

Knaresborough – Large Town (12-35K) Gold Rose Award Category Winner



This year saw almost 240 entrants taking part in this environmental, horticultural and community ‘in Bloom’ campaign, which is the regional part of the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) Britain in Bloom campaign.

Due to the bad weather at the start of the year, Spring Judging was cancelled for the first time ever in the competition. But the weather couldn’t dampen the spirits of the entrants, as the results revealed a shining array of Awards, with 23 Gold, 34 Silver Gilt, 9 Silver and one Bronze Award being given out in the main1-5 categories. There were also many special and discretionary awards for businesses, hotels, pubs and visitor attractions, as well as young people’s awards. Full lists of results are available from the Yorkshire in Bloom website: yorkshireinbloom.co.uk.

The ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ category, which is the grass roots part of the campaign helping people to make lasting improvements to their local areas, saw entries up to 63 from 50 in 2012. Awards for ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ range from: level 1 establishing’, Level 2 ‘improving’, level 3 ‘developing’, level 4 ‘thriving’, and level 5, ‘outstanding’

Entrants into the Yorkshire in Bloom campaign heard the results announced live at a prestigious Awards Ceremony held at the York Racecourse in the Knavesmire Stand, on Tuesday 17 September. Over 400 people attended the awards day, representing almost 250 communities, from villages, towns and coastal resorts, through to hotels, kennels, schools and universities. All competed for the top honours, and the chance to represent the area in the national RHS Britain in Bloom competition.

Prominent figures from the world of horticulture played key roles at the Awards Ceremony, with guest presenters Joe Maiden and Martin Fish.



Joe Maiden is a horticulturalist, writer and regular BBC Radio Leeds presenter, and he has appeared on numerous gardening programmes for the BBC and Yorkshire Television. Joe was awarded the Harlow Carr medal by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) for his first-class growing, lecturing and exhibitions of vegetables. Known as a real ‘dirt under the fingertips’ gardener, Joe is famed for his no-nonsense non-technical approach.

Martin Fish, presented the Young People’s award for Yorkshire in Bloom, which is sponsored by Harrogate Flower Show. Martin has been Show Director at Harrogate since 2010 and he is also a television and radio broadcaster. Serving time as an apprentice gardener, his career developed to becoming one of the youngest Head Gardeners in the country.

Horticultural suppliers Plantscape, Amberol, GE Views and Lubbe Lisse supported the Yorkshire in Bloom event as exhibitors. In addition the following groups were present: RHS, Princes Trust, Harrogate Flower Show, Great Houses, Nafferton, Harrogate, Whitby, NEET, Shadwell, Kirby Malzeard and Dunnington.

Describing the Awards Ceremony, Chair of Yorkshire in Bloom, Brendan Mowforth said:

Yorkshire can certainly hold its head up and be proud of the great results achieved by our In Bloom groups this year. Whilst the weather once again played a big role in our activities; from the severely cold start to the year to blistering temperatures as the region baked in the summer sun; our In Bloom groups have made a real and lasting difference to the places we work in, live in and visit.

New for 2013, an Open Spaces category was introduced as a pilot scheme to reward volunteers adopting areas in parks and public spaces, and a city centre pilot scheme was trialed in Barnsley. The RHS also provided a community fund this year, and projects in Yorkshire with successful applications were given start up grants. There were also 3 larger grants given to 3 projects.

In all aspects of the Yorkshire in Bloom campaign 2013 we have seen a vast increase in community endeavour through our In Bloom groups, and their outstanding contributions greatly improve the environmental quality of all our region’s communities.

A big thank you must be given to the 60 volunteer judges who freely gave their time to cover the 10,000 square miles of Yorkshire to meet the entrants. Visits from the judges can vary from up to one hour, for a small neighbourhood team, to over four hours for a city. An estimate of a thousand hours is needed by the judges to acknowledge and reward the thousands of hours of voluntary work done by the entrants.

Each year, across the whole of the UK, an estimated 200,000 volunteers contribute an average of around 44 hours per person to local Britain in Bloom activities. These volunteers – nearly three times the number involved in the London Olympics 2012– plant hundreds of thousands of trees, shrubs and plants to green-up and clean-up more than a million acres of public space. RHS research shows that their work is making an extraordinary difference to both the physical and socio-economic landscape of Britain.

Entries from Yorkshire in the national 2013 RHS Britain in Bloom campaign are: Barwick–in –Elmet (large village), Garfoth (town), Hunmanby (small town) Starbeck near Harrogate (urban community), Ripon (large town), Luddenden (village).

Results for the national RHS Britain in Bloom campaign will be announced on 12 October 2013 at a prestigious awards ceremony in Cleethorpes. Finalists will be awarded RHS Gold, Silver-Gilt, Silver or Bronze medals. There is also an award for best in category, as well as special discretionary awards given for achieving excellence in particular fields.

The judges reports on Harrogate and Knaresborough

Harrogate – Large Town (35-100K) Gold Rose Award Category Winner

Introduction

Harrogate has embraced all opportunities to create good visual displays using planting and features sympathetic to the area. The town was very colourful, clean and well maintained and the in Bloom team are to be commended. The well prepared route demonstrated the high standards that are achieved in horticulture and community involvement.

Section A: Horticultural Achievement

Areas of Achievement

We saw both formal and informal planting schemes of a very good standard. The parks. The Valley Gardens, Crescent Gardens and Harlow Hill allotments were stunning and other areas were empathetically planted with the users in mind.

Areas for Improvement

Continue to uphold the standard of planting and maintenance of the nature reserves. In terms of bloom visits it is helpful if the volunteers can promote the scale of the work they do and the educational work they do.

Section B: Environmental Responsibility

Areas of Achievement

The nectar bars, litter fairies, the renovation and refurbishing in the Valley Gardens are all positive factors. The town has featured its heritage sites and the picture frame has become a tourist attraction.

Areas for Improvement

Some of the noticeboards and signage would benefit from being spruced up this very noticeable in the Valley gardens. Work with the Friends of Valley Gardens to complete the Pump House and add so much more to the gardens. Continue to plan and when possible implement development plans for the Valley gardens.

Section C: Community Participation

Areas of Achievement

The groups involved with in Bloom are many and diverse. The town council is very much involved with the in Bloom team and it is clear that good communication exists across the various groups and institutions.

Areas for Improvement

There is an opportunity to maximise funding and support from local businesses with the advent of the Tour de France. This will also present a number of challenges in terms of the numbers of visitors who will be in the planted area of the town. We are sure that all sectors who are interested in Harrogate will continue to work together with excellent results.

Knaresborough – Large Town (12-35K) Gold Rose Award Category Winner

Introduction

Knaresborough is an attractive market town with a wealth of historic links. It is set in a dramatic location on elevated rock overlooking the River Nidd. The ‘In Bloom’ team, although relatively small, are very dedicated and work exceedingly hard to maintain the appearance of the Town with positive effect.

Section A: Horticultural Achievement

Areas of Achievement

Some very well presented private gardens were observed. Throughout the Town there were colourful, well-maintained hanging baskets and planters. The Friends of Bebra Gardens have created some impressive displays with thoughtful and imaginative planting.

Areas for Improvement

Weeds growing around the litter bins in the centre of town were conspicuous. Perhaps encourage more businesses on the main thoroughfares to provide floral displays.

Section B: Environmental Responsibility

Areas of Achievement

The Aspin Pond project is impressive and has a dedicated Friends Group. The Barker & Stonehouse Eco store has many sustainable features and is a fine example of reducing carbon footprint. The street furniture was mostly well maintained throughout the Town.

Areas for Improvement

A lot of roadside weed in evidence at the St. James Retail Park. Consider more sustainable, permanent planting in the Town displays

Section C: Community Participation

Areas of Achievement

Utilising a regular market stall for fund raising is commendable. Excellent established links with the local authorities, Friends Groups and ‘In Bloom’ teams working together.

Areas for Improvement

Poor standards of horticulture with an abundance of weed at Aspin School. Perhaps establish greater links with the School as advice and encouragement are much needed.

Introduction
Knaresborough is an attractive market town with a wealth of historic links. It is set in a dramatic location on elevated rock overlooking the River Nidd. The ‘In Bloom’ team, although relatively small, are very dedicated and work exceedingly hard to maintain the appearance of the Town with positive effect.

Section A: Horticultural Achievement
Areas of Achievement
Some very well presented private gardens were observed. Throughout the Town there were colourful, well-maintained hanging baskets and planters. The Friends of Bebra Gardens have created some impressive displays with thoughtful and imaginative planting.

Areas for Improvement
Weeds growing around the litter bins in the centre of town were conspicuous. Perhaps encourage more businesses on the main thoroughfares to provide floral displays.

Section B: Environmental Responsibility
Areas of Achievement
The Aspin Pond project is impressive and has a dedicated Friends Group. The Barker & Stonehouse Eco store has many sustainable features and is a fine example of reducing carbon footprint. The street furniture was mostly well maintained throughout the Town.

Areas for Improvement
A lot of roadside weed in evidence at the St. James Retail Park. Consider more sustainable, permanent planting in the Town displays

Section C: Community Participation
Areas of Achievement
Utilising a regular market stall for fund raising is commendable. Excellent established links with the local authorities, Friends Groups and ‘In Bloom’ teams working together.

Areas for Improvement

Poor standards of horticulture with an abundance of weed at Aspin School. Perhaps establish greater links with the School as advice and encouragement are much needed.


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