Release Date: 28/09/2011
Richmond upon Thames has won a Silver Gilt award in this year’s Britain in Bloom competition, after judges said the borough had ‘grasped the mantle of representing London admirably’ in its debut performance.
The Council was praised for encouraging local people to engage in community gardening. Judges made special mention of the allotments at Manor Road, Richmond, the Ham United Group and the ‘inspirational’ improvements the Council has made to Terrace Gardens and Crane Park. They also highlighted a visit to the home of John Welch of Fulwell Park Avenue, who won the best front garden category in the Richmond Borough in Bloom.
Cllr Virginia Morris, Richmond Council’s Strategic Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning, said: “To secure a Silver Gilt award on our first showing in Britain in Bloom is immensely pleasing. My thanks go to the Council’s parks staff, Richmond Borough in Bloom and the many local people, school children and businesses who gave their support. I’d also like to thank the Richmond and Twickenham Times for its unwavering support this year.
“We have some great gardens and parks, and the judges were spot on to pick up on the cutting edge way we maintain and improve our open spaces. Their advice for the future is very useful and we will be using this straight away to start planning our improvements for next year.”
Reg Leach, Richmond Council’s Parks Operations Manager, said: “We’ve shown what can be achieved through excellent gardening and working together with Richmond Borough in Bloom, local residents and businesses. This was a hard fought competition with very little for the judges to choose between our opponents. I’m very happy and proud that we have won a Silver Gilt award. I’m particularly pleased the judges recognised the innovative ways we have been working to improve our parks and open areas.”
The judges’ report heralded the Council’s ‘bold new initiatives’ to increase biodiversity and create sustainable planting. Following a tour of the borough in August, they highlighted the improvements to the fountains at York House Gardens as a ‘great achievement’ and praised the support of the business community, especially traders in Church Street, Twickenham, and pubs across the borough with their ‘vibrant and colourful floral displays’.
During the tour, the judges also visited Archdeacon Cambridge’s School in Twickenham where they were given a special tour by pupils to show the variety of flowers and wildlife at the school.
Alongside a highly positive report from the judges, advice was also given on how the borough could improve further. The report said while many areas of Richmond upon Thames were very much up to standard, there needed to be a ‘wow factor’ feature. Suggestions from the judges also included installing signs on the Gardens’ vegetable growing areas in Terrace Gardens to help visitors understand the importance of the site. The judges praised the wildflower meadows in Crane Park and proposed they be expanded to other parts of the borough.