The day everyone had been anticipating finally arrived on Friday 21st July when judges came to evaluate Bournemouth’s entry into the South and South East Britain in Bloom Awards.
The Chairman of Bournemouth in Bloom, Revd. Chris Colledge, welcomed the judges and gave a 20 minute presentation at the Savoy Hotel which included mention of the 2017 Schools Competition and children especially being given the challenge of creating wicker planters with the specific theme of Bournemouth being a ‘Coastal Town’.
Mention was made as to how Bournemouth in Bloom works as a Team with the Parks Department. Senior Management from Parks were in attendance at the Presentation as also children from several schools and members of the Bournemouth in Bloom Committee. Special mention was given as to how the Bournemouth Horticultural Society, founded 1884, was now a valued part of Bournemouth in Bloom and the tremendous success of the recent Sweetpea and Rose Show.
The judging tour then began which went firstly to The Durley Road Community Growth Project, a year on, with what must be the most sat on deck chair in the town and which forms a most appropriate welcome to Bournemouth as a Coastal Town. The newly painted deckchair looked excellent amidst the horticultural splendour of the ornamental grasses and agapanthus.
It was then to The Tropical Gardens at Alum Chine which boasts an array stunning plants and is certainly something to be proud of, especially by the enthusiasm and guidance of the Parks Team and dedicated volunteers.
Westbourne was the next place on route stopping at the Library and walking through to the Westbourne Arcade to see the array of Hanging Baskets which had been planted out by the local community as part of the 2017 ‘It’s your Neighbourhood’ initiative.
The Lower Gardens and Pier Approach was then the destination which is a legend of ‘Horticultural Excellence’ and was certainly commented as being so by the judges. There was also the opportunity for judges to meet those who work so hard to maintain the highest standard possible with its magnificent borders as also manicured lawns and being a tourist attraction for so many people.
The rest of the judging tour included seeing the magnificent displays of the hotels on the East Cliff, a visit to the ‘Lansdowne Community Growth’ Project, Boscombe Chine Gardens and seeing the tremendous work of Park Manager Chris Randall and Friends of Boscombe Gardens volunteers, Mrs Margaret Dudden’s themed Coastal Garden in Ravine Road, Wick Village and finally to Hengistbury Head where our Mayor and Mayoress of Bournemouth were awaiting to formally welcome the judges to the Borough.
Over a Buffet Lunch the judges were able to meet and talk to volunteers, Gary Josey, Senior Manager, The Parks Team, Councillor Bob Lawton, Cabinet and Portfolio Holder and members of the Bournemouth in Bloom Committee.
Judging continued after Lunch with presentations in respect of Waste recycling and Sustainability, Nature Conservation, Education and Cattle grazing as well as the very important aspect of the many hours dedicated to the Nature Reserve by volunteers.
How fortunate we were as no sooner had the Judging Tour finished that the Rain began! What we now look forward to is the South and South East Britain in Bloom Awards Ceremony in Effingham, near Gatwick Airport, on Wednesday 20th September. Bournemouth is renowned for it’s achievement of receiving so many awards and so it is a high standard to maintain… time hopefully will tell.