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Issue 9 - FlowersofScotland

Scotland Magazine Issue 9
July 2003

 

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FlowersofScotland

NICOLALISLELOOKSATSCOTTISHSUCCESSSTORIESINTHEPRESTIGIOUSBRITAININBLOOMCOMPETITION

Everysummer,Scotland’scities,townsandvillagesareablazewithcolourasfloraldecorationsofeverydescriptionblossomintofullglory.ThisprofusionofflowersoccursthankstoBeautifulScotlandinBloom,anoffshootofBritaininBloom,theinspirationalcompetitionthatsprangintolife40yearsago.

BritaininBloomwasthebrainchildofhorticulturaljournalistRonHay,whonoticedanabundanceofflowersliningthestreetsduringavisittoFranceinthesummerof1963.

Thisturnedouttobepartofanation-widecrusadetomakeFrancemorebeautiful,andhewasinspiredtocreateasimilarinitiativebackintheUnitedKingdom.

Fortyyearson,BritaininBloomhasbecomeEurope’smostinfluential,andarguablymostimportant,horticulturalcampaign.

TheBeautifulScotlandinBloomcompetition,whichbeganin1966,mirrorsthestructureandaimsofthenationalcompetition,butatalocallevel.RegionaljudgingtakesplaceeveryJuly,andthebestentriesareselectedtogoforwardintoBritaininBloom,inwhichScotlandhasenjoyedconsiderablesuccess.

ButBritaininBloomisnotjustaboutwinning,norisitjustaboutflowers.Itisaboutevokingcommunityspiritandpride,andoverthelastfewyearshasputincreasingemphasisonissuessuchaslong-termplanningandconservation,strategiestoreducelitter,graffitiandvandalism,andtheimaginativeplantingoftreesandshrubs.

TheRoyalHorticulturalSociety,whichtookoverfromtheTidyBritainGroupin2002,planstodeveloptheseaspectsofthecompetitionevenfurther.

“Thecampaignwillbefocusedonthefourpillarsofhorticulture,communityinvolvement,environmentalfriendlinessandsustainability,”explainedBiancaLapinsoftheRHS.

Scotlandhasledthewayinachievingtheseaims–thefirsttointroducecleanlinessasoneoftheregionaljudgingcriteria,andplacinggreatimportanceontheregenerationofwasteland,settinguprecyclingschemes,andencouragingcommunityparticipation.

MuchoftheenergyandinspirationfortheseinitiativeshascomefromMayWright,co-ordinatorofBeautifulScotlandinBloomfor20years,andrecentrecipientoftheQueenMothermedalforservicestohorticulture.

ThemedalnotonlyrecognisesMay’scontributiontoScotlandinBloom,butalsohercommitmenttoensuringthatScotlandhelpstoachievetheglobalaimsofsustainability,asoutlinedbytheUnitedNationsConferenceonEnvironmentandDevelopmentatRiodeJaneiroin1992.

OneofthefiveactionplansproducedatRiourgedcommunitiestoassumecollectiveresponsibilityfortheirenvironmentandworktogethertowardsamoresustainablefuture.ThishasbeenadoptedbyBritaininBloom.

Scotland’ssuccessstoriesinlastyear’sBritaininBloomcompetitionaretestamenttoMay’sdrivetowardswidespreadinvolvementandgreaterenvironmentalawareness.

IntheLargeTowncategory,PerthfoughtoffchallengesfromBuryStEdmunds,Durham,Horsham,StaffordandTauntontoclaimthesilver-giltaward,andwasdescribedbyBritaininBloomjudgesas“oneofthesuccessstoriesofthedecade.”

Fromhumblebeginningsintheearly1990s,Perthhasestablishedareputationforitsoutstandingfloraldisplays,largelyasaresultofthecouncil-runPerthinBloomandtheTakeaPrideinPerthshireinitiatives.

NationaljudgesparticularlypraisedtheregenerationofPerth’sneglectedareas,itsanti-littercampaign,andtheimaginativedevelopmentofRodneyGarden.

UpintheHighlands,AlnesswonthegoldawardintheSmallTowncategory,andisoneofonlytwoplacesselectedtorepresentBritainintheEurope-widecompetition,EntenteFlorale.ThishonouristhelatestinastringofsuccessesforAlness,whoseBloomcampaignbeganin1996withascatteringofhangingbasketsintheHighStreet,andhasnowdevelopedintoamajorcommunityproject.

Judgeswereimpressedwiththetown’screativelandscapingprojects,whichincludethetransformationoftheShillinghillEstatefromaderelictareaintoparkland,andthepermanenthardlandscapingwhichhasenhancedtheentrancetotheMinafuahousingestate.

Shortlistedentriesfrom2002includedDrumnadrochitandEdzell,whichwerebothawardedsilverintheVillageandLargeVillagecategoriesrespectively.

Meanwhile,NorthBerwickobtainedbronzeinthenewcategoryofSmallCoastalResort.

DrumnadrochitwasalsoselectedforaspecialCleanlinessAward,foritscontributiontotheKeepBritainTidycampaign.

Anothersilveraward-winnerwasAberdeen,whosemanyBloomsuccessesovertheyearshaveearneditthetag‘FlowerofScotland’.

AberdeenlostouttoBournemouthlastyear,but,bywayofconsolation,scoopedaspecialawardfortheexceptionalstandarddisplayedinJohnstonPark.

AnevengreaterconsolationprizeforAberdeenwasbeingaskedtohostthe2002awardspresentationceremony,atwo-dayeventthat,accordingtotheRHS,was“carriedoutwithtraditionalScottishflair”.

WriterandbroadcasterRoyLancasterannouncedthewinners,beforetheguestsenjoyedamagnificentbuffetfollowedbyliveScottishmusicanddancing.

Scotland’s2003campaignkickedoffinEdinburghinApril,andmarkedtheunveilingofanotherexcitinginitiativebyBeautifulScotlandinBloom,inpartnershipwithEdinburghCityCouncil.

ResidentsoftheMoredunFlatsinCraigourhavebecomethefirstrecipientsoftheHighFlatsVillageAward,aninnovativecompetitiontobepilotedacrossthecitythissummer.Ifsuccessful,itwillbeexpandedtothewholeofScotlandnextyear.

ThislatestschemeepitomisesScotland’sprogressiveattitudeinacompetitionthathasretaineditsoriginalideals,whileembracingtheneedsoftoday’sworldintermsofenvironment,conservationandinclusivity.

HowScotlandfaresinthisyear’sBritaininBloomcompetitionisanyone’sguess,buttherecanbelittledoubtthatthecountrywillonceagainbeflowingwithgloriouscolourthroughoutthesummer.