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England in Bloom 2012

With the New Year, the Royal Horticultural Society ushered in a new batch of contestants for the annual ‘Britain in Bloom’ competition, where communities of hope from across the UK compete to be honored as British ecological champions.

The aim of this RHS phenomenon is to encourage public contributions to the country’s natural aesthetics and environmental awareness, and the three categories, in which finalists are marked, reflect this. In this year’s competition, centered on the propagation of British wildflowers, out of more than 1000 potential winners, only 79 finalists have been considered. Considered by many to be one of the UK’s most significant environmental campaigns, this year’s arrivals have collectively planted more than 400,000 new trees and shrubs, along with 21,000,000 new flowers and tubers, in over a thousand different communities nationwide.

RHS Britain in Bloom UK Finals

Colloquially referred to as ‘The Bloom’, the competition started back in 1963, following the French example of ‘Fleurissement’, and is founded on three guiding principles: Horticultural Excellence; Environmental Responsibility; and Community Participation. In 2002 Bloom became subordinate to RHS, which has been monitoring him ever since. A judging process spanning the entire summer ensures commitment to the highest standards, even once the judges’ opinions are gathered, and that this is a work of love and not glory. There are two levels to this process, the regional and national judging stages – generally 70 communities qualify from regional to national level to be honored for their achievements.

Last year’s winners were based on a variety of different cities and towns, based on their size and ecological location, particularly urban vs suburban, rural vs coastal communities. And the beauty of projects is that there is a task for every level of interest or commitment – projects are judged on the basis of overall cleanliness and cleanliness which can only be achieved with persistent effort. To get involved, you can access the RHS website to find local projects for you that will cover responsibilities such as events planning to raise funds or awareness, to pick trash, to wildlife conservation. The project’s triumph is rife across the UK – the city of Nottingham has practically changed from its past perceptions of being a capital of crime, to the introduction and ongoing success of the more than 160 environmental gardening groups that have worked with RHS since the start of the millennium.

The benefits of such a project are far reaching and numerous and deserve such recognition.

This initiative encourages a communal workforce for personal improvement, namely increased safety and beauty in a shared environment. It encourages group psychology that is kind to our domestic ecology, as well as hard work on behalf of our fellow humans and, by including families, it teaches civil and natural responsibility to future generations. Moreover, it provides a national incentive to pay attention to our environment, one which we ourselves adopt from our French neighbors and can hope, in the future, to encourage in other countries. This is at least a baby step to increase environmental awareness.