Bicester set to be just blooming marvellous

Bicester Town Council gardeners in action at a previous 'In Bloom' competition
Bicester Town Council gardeners in action at a previous 'In Bloom' competition

OUTDOORSY types whose idea of heaven may begin with some fertile soil, a south facing garden and an absence of scavenging squirrels might want to peel off their gardening gloves and read on.

Bicester town council is inviting all its creative community organisations and down-to-earth residents to take part in the annual ‘in Bloom’ competition.

It is the perfect opportunity for gardeners, both novice and experienced, to give their garden or allotment a challenging new focus or look.

Entries for the national gardening competition will make up part of Bicester’s entry into this year’s regional ‘Thames and Chilterns in Bloom’ competition.

Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) community horticulture manager, Stephanie Eynon, said: “Britain in Bloom was originally hanging baskets, bedding plants and floral displays.

“Now it places increasing emphasis on involving the community and caring for the environment, through long term, sustainable and locally defined projects.

“Not only does Britain in Bloom improve people’s sense of civic pride but it is also hugely beneficial to the environment.”

RHS Britain in Bloom is a UK horticultural competition that was first held by the British tourist board in 1963.

The RHS event is entered by towns, villages, urban communities and cities alike.

Activities manager, Chris Johnson, said: “Community involvement means people are aware of the history of Bicester, help make it a better place to live and hopefully leave a legacy.

“One way to do this is to enter the in bloom competition – it’s not as daunting as you might think.”

Bicester proved a worthy entrant in the 2010 Bloom awards, notching up a gold medal in the Thames and Chiltern large town category, and silver gilt in the RHS Britain in bloom large town/ small city category.

A spokesman for Bicester council, said: “Last year Bicester’s very own local Bicester in Bloom competition, once again had a very high standard for entrants, demonstrating ‘green fingers’ across all areas of the community.”

There are a range of categories to choose from, whether you’re a teenager who fancies your chances for best school’s environmental garden, or an under-five who wants to show off his perfect patch of front yard flowers.

Best hanging basket, best village floral display and best container garden are amongst the other exciting categories.

And even pubs, restaurants and hotels can enter their creations.

Bicester already boasts an impressive number of keen amateur gardeners.

There are four allotment sites in the town and a fifth will soon be made available to cope with demand.

The Thames and Chilterns judging will take place in July.

A presentation ceremony for all prize winners will be held on October 7 at Wyevale Garden Centre, Bicester.

For more information, please call Chris Johnson at Bicester Town Council on 01869 252915.