A GOLDEN gift for a golden year is the hope of those behind Redditch’s bid for floral glory in this year’s Heart of England in Bloom contest.
Judges arrived last Friday (August 1) to tour the borough’s green spaces and run the rule over the town’s In Bloom bid in the small city category.
Since re-entering the contest in 2010 the borough has won silver gilt and gold three times in a row and is looking for a fourth this time around, which would be an extra special achievement given it is the 50th anniversary of Redditch as a new town and Britain in Bloom is also marking its own half century.
Among the locations judges visited was Headless Cross Community Orchard where families were enjoying a picnic and games including a hoopla in the shape of the district’s water tower.
Up to 20 fruit trees have been planted on the green including local varieties of fruit such as Redditch’s own Doddin apple and the Pershore plum. Special plants to attract bees have also been planted as part of the contest’s golden pollinator theme.
Alistair Waugh, from the community orchard, said: “I think the judges really got it, they could see the importance of this space for the community and were shocked initially this area used to be housing and shops and how it’s come full circle.”
Guy Revans, head of environmental services at Redditch Borough Council, added: “We showed the judges all the good work that has gone into making the borough bloom and fingers crossed we can strike gold for a fourth time in Redditch’s golden year.”
Judges also visited Studley on the same day which is bidding for its fourth gold award in a row.
They were taken to locations including the Victoria Nature Reserve, the winner of the best kept garden in the village, vegetables grown by youngsters at the children’s centre and the hard work of David Morris and the Abbeyfields Community Group at Red Hill Close.
The village’s bid had threatened to be wrecked by vandals who trashed floral displays until prisoners and staff from HMP Hewell stepped in to donate plants to replace those lost.
Gill Liebthal, chair of Studley in Bloom, said: “We couldn’t be happier with how it went and the judges seemed impressed again. We’d like to thank everyone who supported this year’s bid – we couldn’t have done it without you.”
The awards will be announced at a ceremony in September.
Bloomin’ great – Gill Liebthal and Barbara Campbell from Studley in Bloom, Studley Children’s Centre manager Nicky Gillmore, Heart of England in Bloom chairman Roger Bache and Graham Redfern, also from Heart of England in Bloom. 3214005ABR2.