Newcastle-under-Lyme has clinched the RHS gold award and the title of Overall Winner in the UK finals of the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) Britain in Bloom competition 2023 which stands as the largest community gardening competition in the UK.
Out of 44 community gardening groups nominated to represent their region or nation, Newcastle-under-Lyme stood out in the Small City Category and was awarded the Overall Winner title.
The competition recognised 12 category winners out of 44 villages, towns, and cities, which included: Aberdeen, Better Bankside, Brandon, Churchtown, Darlington, East Haven, Kinnesswood, Lytham, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Oswestry, Redbourn, and St Saviour.
This event, involving more than 3,000 community groups and numerous dedicated local volunteers, showcases a collective effort to maintain green and flourishing neighbourhoods year-round.
Newcastle-under-Lyme, located in Staffordshire, impressed the judges with their commitment to environmental sustainability and community engagement.
One of their remarkable initiatives involved planting a commemorative forest comprising 850 lime trees and native broadleaf trees, contributing significantly to the town’s journey towards becoming carbon neutral.
Additionally, their innovative approach in collaborating with local groups, residents, and school children to plant trees across the borough garnered praise. Their efforts were marked by a unique ‘treetotalizer,’ indicating that they had planted a total of 9,995 trees to date.
Darren Share, Chair of the RHS Britain in Bloom judges, commended Newcastle-under-Lyme for their outstanding vision and dedication. He highlighted their comprehensive performance in horticulture, environmental initiatives, and community engagement, which earned them high scores in all three areas.
He said, “Newcastle-under-Lyme showed great vision and purpose. Concern for the environment and encouraging wildlife is at the heart of everything they do.”
Apart from receiving gold, silver gilt, silver, or bronze medals, participating groups vie for titles in various categories such as town, village, and Business Improvement District. The ultimate category winners are determined, and groups may also be nominated for additional discretionary awards, evaluated by a panel of judges.
Among the remarkable achievements, Kinnesswood in Bloom, Scotland, stood out as the recipient of the Discretionary Award for Children and Young People’s Participation.
Their collaboration with Portmoak Primary School showcased impressive initiatives, including the establishment of a school pond, construction of wooden wigwams, creation of a willow tunnel, and planting of 135 fruit trees.
Abergavenny, Wales, received the Sustainable Gardening Award for their holistic approach, encompassing inter-generational projects, citizen science, and skill-sharing, all aimed at promoting plant-friendly gardening practices.
Rachel de Thame, gardener, and broadcaster, presenting the awards praised the selfless dedication of Britain in Bloom gardening groups, emphasising their role as community heroes.
During the awards ceremony held in London and broadcasted on BBC’s The One Show, various groups were honored with certificates and trophies, acknowledging their dedication and positive contributions to villages, towns, and cities throughout the country.
For detailed information on the RHS Britain in Bloom 2023 UK Finals results, visit the RHS website.