Rochdale in Bloom scooped gold today in the finals of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Britain in Bloom competition, hosted in London.
Following a two-year hiatus, the Britain in Bloom Finals returned for 2022 with 46 community gardening groups looking to wow judges this summer.
Finalists were judged according to strengthened environmental criteria that encourages groups to consider sustainability issues and implement planet-friendly gardening techniques within their community projects.
Nominated for the Small City category, and up against titans Bath, Canterbury and Burton, Rochdale in Bloom represented the North West nationally, after winning its fifth consecutive gold in the 2021 regional competition. It’s the second time Rochdale has represented the region at the nationals, taking home yet another gold in 2018. The Rochdale team steamed ahead to take the gold and also best in category in this year’s competition with the three other competitors in the category taking home silver gilts, the next best on the score chart.
Like many of this year’s finalists, the volunteers have worked hard to dust off the tools after the pandemic to get displays ship shape in time for judging. This year’s floral designs across the town were influenced by the war in Ukraine, planting sunflowers along the route, and the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
For both regional and national comps, the team choose a selection of sites for the judges to visit that showcase the best of Rochdale, but at the same time meet all aspects of the judging criteria. However, the National competition is widely acknowledged as being much stricter and expectations and standards are much higher.
The judges were treated to spectacular floral displays at Norden Jubilee Park, Cutgate alleygate, Denehurst Park, Rochdale AFC’s Wonderwall, Castleton Railway Station, Castleton War Memorial, Bilal Mosque, and the World War One pop-up garden in Rochdale Memorial Gardens. Whereas at Caldershaw Green they witnessed the huge biodiversity steps being taken to rejuvenate the area. At the Growth Project and Springhill Hospice judges also saw how Rochdale is tackling food sustainability and supporting health through gardening.
Chairman of Rochdale in Bloom, Roy Down, said: “It’s such an honour for the town to have been chosen yet again to represent the North West, and to have won and bring gold home, well it’s just unbelievable. On top of that, achieving the best in category award, well, it’s safe to say there were some tears!”
“We we’re always going to be the underdogs in this category, going up against wonderful places like Bath who have such spending power, but what we lack in expense we more than make up for in community spirit and teamwork.
“Our thanks go to our local businesses and sponsors who back us, and to Rochdale Council’s environmental management team who literally clear the way for us to win time and time again. They’re a great group of people and we appreciate their hard work.”
Now in its 58th year, the Royal Horticultural Society’s Britain in Bloom is one of the most effective, and longest-running, environmental competitions in the UK, which 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.
If you’d like to become a volunteer with Rochdale in Bloom, get in touch via rochdaleinbloom.com