Horsham scooped a number of awards at this year’s South and South East in Bloom ceremony on Friday (September 11).
The judges look at each entry’s horticulture and gardening efforts, approach to environmental responsibility and community participation.
Earles Meadow conservation group won an ‘outstanding’ awards in the ‘it’s your neighbourhood’ category and a silver gilt award in the ‘conservation area’ group.
Hill’s Farm Conservation Group was also recognised with an ‘outstanding’ award for their work and St Mary’s in Storrington won a silver ‘churchyard’ award and was the overall category winner.
Anne Smith and Robert Brown from Earles Meadow said: “We are delighted, it is true recognition for the community. We have managed to keep the standard and have proudly won two years in a row.”
Reverend Kathryn Windslow, from St Mary’s, added: “Wow, we are just overwhelmed. The volunteers have worked so hard. We received a silver award last year so are very proud to have improved to a silver gilt this year.”The ceremony, at Brighton and Hove Albion’s American Express Community Stadium, was co-hosted by Jim Buttress – seen on BBC’s Big Allotment Challenge –and fellow celebrity gardener Chris Collins.
This year also marks the launch of Southern Water’s new water efficiency plan, which aims to save six million litres of water per day in the South East of England.
Southern Water’s Water Efficiency Manager, Ben Earl, said, “This is a great competition that celebrates the South East and its beautiful places and spaces.
“Southern Water has been a proud sponsor of the event for over a decade and a half and in that time we been able to help thousands of gardeners save water through the promotion of water efficiency. Thank you South East in Bloom and the gardeners of the South East!”
South and South East in Bloom is the largest horticultural campaign in the region involving hundreds of communities each year. Participating communities create lasting improvements to their local environment for the benefit of those that live, work and visit there today, and in the future.
In the past 15 years the competition has judged more than 3,000 gardens, parks and other outside spaces across the region.
Bloom Chairman, Peter Holman, added: “The number of entrants has increased by 700 per cent since the partnership began in 2000. Over that time we have helped change attitudes about the conservation of water and scarce resources.”
Report and pictures contributed by Southern Water.