An image of children planting flowers for the competition

Didsbury and Altrincham compete in RHS Britain in bloom

In Events, News by Salutions


Didsbury and Altrincham battle for Britain in Bloom gold

Areas fly the flag for the North West in UK-wide Royal Horticultural Society competition

Didsbury and Altrincham are among eight Britain in Bloom groups that have been selected to represent the North West region in the prestigious Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Britain in Bloom UK Finals 2017.

They will be competing against groups from across the nation to be crowned one of the cleanest, greenest and most beautiful places in the UK.

For the second time in the group’s six year history, Didsbury is a finalist in the ‘Urban Community’ category.

This year, the 300 volunteers will be turning their streets, three parks, churches and schools into wildlife havens, using the theme of ‘wildlife and biodiversity’ to grow bee-friendly plants, create two new wildlife ponds and install bird and bat boxes.

They will also be honouring local environmentalist Emily Williamson, who founded the organisation that became the RSPB from her home in Didsbury in 1889. Plans to celebrate Emily’s legacy will include the creation of a huge willow-woven robin with the red breast formed from flowers, and a bird trail for children.

Heather Stemp, Chair of Didsbury in Bloom said: “It’s very exciting to be an RHS Britain in Bloom finalist again. Our group is entirely volunteer-led and taking part brings the whole community together. Everyone from shop and bar owners through to local school children work hard to make the area clean, tidy and beautiful.”

Altrincham is a first time finalist in the ‘Large Town’ category, an impressive achievement as the 30-strong volunteer group only started participating in Britain in Bloom in 2014.

The group is overseeing a number of projects that both strengthen the community and reflect Altrincham’s rich industrial heritage.

‘Food for Thought’ is a collaboration with Navigation Primary School where the pupils are taught about how food gets onto the plate by growing vegetables and herbs from seed. The harvested food is being donated to a charitable senior citizens lunch club.

The community gardeners will also be gradually transforming a run-down site at the entrance to the town into a ‘Green Gateway’, including new features such as a carved tree-stump depicting images from Altrincham’s past, some story-telling heritage panels and a carpet bedding feature to welcome visitors.

Sarah Walmsley, the group’s Project Coordinator said: “We’re both delighted and daunted at being a finalist. The areas we are up against have lots of experience but we’re really hoping to do well and have already started fundraising so that we can carry out all our plans.”

In August both Didsbury and Altrincham will lead RHS Britain in Bloom judges on a tour of their areas as they bid to win a top award. The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony in Llandudno, North Wales on 27 October.