Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Britain in Bloom

A flag in Wakefield mysteriously says In Bloom.The finalists of the 2007 Britain in bloom have been announced.
The Royal Horticultural Society has been behind this using gardening as "an all inclusive campaign to make positive changes to improve local area's.
This can involve floral features, permenant planting, wildflower meadows, planting for nature, growing fruit and vegetables, amongst other things"
Wakefield mass planted display boxes within the city centre, but wants to encourage businesses and schools and the community to participate in making it more attractive.
The council has yet to approve the funds to be made available to buy plants and baskets etc.
As my walk home was an unofficial wakefield in bloom, with the interesting wildflowers i have photographed today just walking back from work.
There was a post recently in Garden Rant about America in Bloom, asking are the British better at the in bloom competitions.
There are winners in the Britain in Bloom competition, medals of Gold, Silver, or Bronze. The judges must clock up some miles traveling around Britain. The categories are based mostly on population from villages to small towns to citys to large cities.
Regional competitions have sprung up as well.Wakefield also enters the Yorkshire in Bloom competitions.
The idea is that all communitys are encouraged to join in, and improve local environments. It has now expanded from floral displays to areas such as cleaning up litter, grafitti, and stopping anti social behaviour.
In one run down inner city estate the making of a small park with tree's and flowers, and benches reduced the anti social behaviour.
The British have always been competitive. Think of the many horticultural competitions there are. To grow the best roses, Dahlias, Orchids,or vegetables, etc for show.
There are prizes. Maybe three people will win the medals. I think you need the prizes to make the competition relevant. To share it with 1200 people defeats the point.
The competitveness encourages the communities to improve themselves, but to compare themselves to other places with similar population sizes or problems.
I still believe in the therapeutic benefits of gardening, and indeed growing anything, planting it. It takes effort, and the good feelings when it has flowered make it worthwhile. It makes people feel good when where they live is brightened up, cleaned up, and time spent making it better.
After 40 years we are still blooming.


Gotta Garden said...

It is interesting and strange at the same time, to me, that we Americans aren't competitive about gardening...even at the local Home and & Garden Show, they practically have to beg to get any entries...of course, the prizes are incredibly weak...and the show is heavy on Home not Garden.

I don't even think that many communities even enter the America in Bloom contest, although I haven't read the gr post. Virigina, this year, is promoting America's Anniversary Garden ( but it begs the question: Will people really do it??

At this point, I would have to say...only my own opinion, that the English are generally more serious and generally more interested in gardening that the average American.

Last year I visited the Chelsea Flower Show and each night we raced home (for me) to see the BBC hour special on the show...would never happen here! We apparently can't even sustain a decent gardening channel on cable!

David (Snappy) said...

Thanks Gotta garden.I will blog your link tomorrow about America memorial garden competition.I think the British have had a love affair with the garden since time was recorded.I had a book recording gardens through time from ancient britain to medieval gardens etc upto the 20th century.
There are thousands of years of connectedness to the earth, growing plants, flowers, tree's, fruit, and veg.
A natural competitive streak too and thats why Horticultural competions are keenly fought.
Some people take it very seriously, and i guess if you win an RHS gold medal you are very happy!
At the Chelsea flower show the garden designers vye to win the judges approval.They say cant believe i didnt get the gold medal.
The TV coverage is really good though.The jewel in the horticultural crown.You either want to visit it or compete there.
That film greenfingers was open an open prison entering the show gardens competition.From the mega famous gardeners to the amateur green thumbs they all want to be there.:)

EAL said...

I think you guys have a better climate to garden in. Not so many of the extremes, and the island effect.

Every area of America has harsh conditions of some type to deal with--cold, hot, blizzards, drought, you name it.

I think the Northwest might be the most garden-friendly over here.

David (Snappy) said...

Hi Eal I was thinking about this reply you sent.The USA is enormous with a wide variety of zones with different growing conditions.Those extreme things you mention are rarities here.For the most part the island effect and our geographical location makes us stable.We have a long horticultural history and it has been part of British culture for thousands of years.The USA has a shorter history so maybe that accounts for peoples reticence about gardening competitions.
Why is the northwest most garden friendly?Is it the weather or the people?