RHS Britain in Bloom is the largest horticultural campaign in the United Kingdom. It was first held in 1963, initiated by the British Tourist Board based on the example set by Fleurissement de France. It has been organised by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) since 2002.
Through their regional campaigns and competitions towns, villages and cities can enter as can Neighbourhoods, Parks, Cemeteries, Heritage Parks and Gardens as well as encouraging young people through our University & College Grounds Competitions. Groups are assessed for their achievements in horticulture and gardening, care for the environment and community participation.
Over 1,000 communities around the UK enter each year, participating in their local region’s “in Bloom” campaign. From these regional competitions, roughly 70 communities are selected to enter the national Finals of RHS Britain in Bloom. It is a popular campaign, estimated to involve more than 100,000’s of volunteers in cleaning up and greening up their local area.
Awards are based on the Royal Horticultural Society’s medal standards of Gold, Silver Gilt, Silver and Bronze; the winner is the entry judged to have most successfully met the judging criteria. Judging at the regional stage takes place around June/ July; judging for the national stage takes place in August. The results for the UK Finals are announced in September/ October. The competition covers the UK, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.
Floral displays play an important part in the contest, but the “Bloom” title is now, perhaps, misleading: in recent years the competition has increasingly assessed how all sectors of the local community are managing their local environment.
In 2006, the RHS introduced the Neighbourhood Awards (now the It’s Your Neighbourhood campaign), a grassroots sister campaign to Bloom, supporting smaller, volunteer-led community groups focused on improving their immediate environment.
How an entry competes for honours in Britain in Bloom
Each year in October/November South & South East in Bloom nominates winning entries into the Britain in Bloom finals for the following year.
Entries are selected from regional category winners (Large City, City, Large Town, Town, Small Town, Large Village, Village, Small Village, Urban Communities and Coastal Towns) who, in the opinion of the South & South East in Bloom Trustees, are able to sustain their award-winning standard into the following year, when the Britain in Bloom judging takes place. Britain in Bloom takes place in August each year. Britain in Bloom finalist will also be expected to participate in South & South East in Bloom in the same year.
Entry into Britain in Bloom can only be gained through a nomination from the regional campaign.
To see photos from the 2016 Judging Day of Bournemouth, click here.