READING has been awarded a prestigious Gold Award in the 2019 Royal Horticultural Society’s
(RHS) 55th annual Britain in Bloom community gardening competition.
The RHS Britain in Bloom judges announced the winners of each category and finalists’ final
score at an awards ceremony held at the RHS Lindley Hall in London on Friday 26th October 2019.
The judges visited the town in July and were impressed with the work that had been carried out to
“unite communities, volunteers and gardeners.”
They said their Reading tour most certainly had “a wow factor and showed consistently the heritage, horticultural, community and business passion that unites this entry.” The judges saw: “…excellent and extensive evidence of pride of place and how Reading is as a city. From the moment the judges stepped off the train and throughout the tour we saw excellent examples of civic pride.”
The judges noted Reading “demonstrated strongly their commitment to being a sustainable city,” and were impressed with “Some 56 hectares of wildflowers have been introduced to the borough and that these are being rolled out extensively on verges.”
There was praise for displays in Caversham Court Gardens, the Forbury and the Abbey Ruins and for the town centre and Oracle Shopping Centre’s floral displays. The judges also noted Green Park as “an excellent example of biodiversity management in a business setting.”
The judges were impressed by examples of community activities at Erleigh Road Community Garden and at Reading Old Cemetery in east Reading, the engagement of schoolchildren in gardening at Geoffrey Field Junior School in south Reading and from students at the University of Reading.
The judges summarised Reading’s entry: “From the town centre BID, The Oracle shopping centre, the gardening and street teams along with community groups, schools and a very committed Borough team and Reading in Bloom committee…..The support demonstrated has highlighted that Reading is going from strength to strength and this dedication has been reflected in awarding of a RHS Britain in Bloom Gold Medal.”
Marc Allridge, Reading in Bloom’s chairman, said: “The whole Reading in Bloom committee is delighted with this result – it is an amazing achievement.
“I am particularly pleased as this is my first year as chairman. Reading really did blossom this year from the private and community gardens to businesses and allotments and the judges saw a town that really embraces its green spaces. We may be a hi tech city in all but name but we still allow nature to flourish. We thank all who contributed to our success even in a small way, and to our sponsors and supporters. Everyone can be very proud.”
Cllr Karen Rowland, Reading’s Lead Member for Culture, Heritage and Recreation, said: “This is an fantastic accolade for Reading and one we should be extremely proud of. To achieve Gold in the national awards for the first time is wonderful news for the town. I’m particularly pleased the judges noted the work we’ve carried out on sustainability and biodiversity throughout the borough."
Britain in Bloom recognises hard work to win GOLD!
Judging for Britain in Bloom
July 31, 2019
Judges from Britain in Bloom did a whistle-stop tour around Reading today taking in all of the floral delights.
From Caversham Court Gardens to Henley Road Cemetery, from The Oracle to Forbury Gardens, from the Ridgeline Trust to the Lavender Place Community garden, the judges were given a blooming good outing.
They did manage a lunch stop after touring Green Park in golf buggies to see the park’s bees, its wormery and other eco-friendly initiatives – and they came away with a jar of honey produced by Green Park bees.
Said chairman of Reading in Bloom (RIB) Marc Allridge of Cherubs Floral Design: “It was a lovely sunny day and Reading looked simply gorgeous.
“We loved the baskets in the Abbey Quarter, paid for by the new Abbey Quarter BID, the guerrilla garden in Vastern Road which covers a huge patch and the Lavender Place community garden which is part of a project run by Reading police, alongside virtually every area of our town which looks so colourful and vibrant this summer.
"Green Park were great hosts for lunch - and the tour around there and talk afterwards was informative. Green Park is the only business park in the UK to be certified biodiverse."
Reading will find out is fate in the national competition in October – last year the town won a silver gilt medal and hopes are high among the RIB committee that it will strike gold in 2019.
The judges thanked everyone after the tour and said they had been very impressed with everything they saw. They said Reading had a great community and great parks, adding that our principles are there and the portfolio was unique.
Meanwhile judging has taken place for Reading in Bloom and winners will be notified shortly.
This year there were two new categories – Front Container Garden, the most florally attractive garden with all planting in containers. And for businesses is the Staff Well-being Garden, the best garden provided by an employer for the enjoyment of the workforce.
Said Marc: “Most of the entries were up this year and the two new categories proved very popular. Judging, as always, was hard but we think we’ve found some really worthy winners.”
An awards ceremony will take place at the Hilton Hotel on Monday, September 2.
We've launched for 2019!
May 7, 2019
Reading in Bloom has two new categories this year.
All you container lovers will like...
Front Container Garden
The most florally attractive garden with all planting in containers.
And for businesses...
Staff Well-being Garden
The best garden provided by an employer for the enjoyment of the workforce
See entry form here
Reading wins silver gilt at National Britain in Bloom
Reading was awarded a Silver Gilt at the national Britain in Bloom presentations in Belfast.
Delighted to be representing the Thames and Chilterns in the City category - against the likes of Aberdeen, Norwich and Belfast.
Many thanks to Britain in Bloom and the RHS for organising such a brilliant awards night, and for the warm welcome from the people of Belfast.
From left, the judges about to be driven around Green Park accompanied by Green Park staff. Reading Borough Council staff, RIB members and Cllr Karen Rowland. Green Park's Nicole Coulson with staff and RIB chairman Marc Allridge. One of the judges being interviewed and, below, Cllr Karen Rowlan and Marc Allridge