The RHS Britain in Bloom UK Finals brings together the highest achievers from all of the 16 regions and nations participating in the campaign and, as a result, the expectations are high and the judging is rigorous. Put simply, the judges will be looking for the best and they will be seeing the best from the other regions/nations that are in your category.
Following the revision of the marking sheet in 2010, today’s campaign concentrates of three core areas:
- Horticultural Achievement
- Environmental Responsibility
- Community Participation
These three core principles underline every aspect of the marking and the marking sheet is broken down to include them all (see the finalists’ online hub http://www.rhs.org.uk/forbloomfinalists) for a copy of the UK finals marking sheet).
A few general tips to remember:
- Your entire tour route is subject to judging; that means what the judges see on the way from one feature stop to another, as well as what they see at all the stops.
- The judges will expect that your campaign has considered your entire community and not just the high street or the village square and that, where you have “problem” areas (e.g. vacant premises/plots, eyesores etc.), you have plans in place to address these.
- The judges will also be looking for your campaign activities to benefit your community not just for today but for the long term.
- Finally, Britain in Bloom is not just about spring and summer displays: it should be a year-round programme of activity to improve, enhance and maintain the local environment and get the community actively engaged in keeping things at their best. The judges will want to see evidence of your year-round programme of work.
Explanatory notes to help you understand each section of the marking sheet.
Section A – Horticultural Achievement (50%; max 100 points)
In this section the judges will be looking for your year-round achievements in horticulture (including conservation and natural areas) focusing on five key areas:
- A1. Impact
- A2. Horticultural practice
- A3. Residential and community gardening
- A4. Business areas and premises
- A5. Green spaces Each of these key areas will make up 10% of your overall score and be worth a maximum of 20 points.%
A1. IMPACT – 20 points; 10% Impact will be evaluated across the entry, in each area and as a whole
A2. HORTICULTURAL PRACTICE – 20 points; 10% Horticultural practice will be assessed in all areas on the tour route
A3. RESIDENTIAL AND COMMUNITY GARDENING – 20 points; 10%
A4. BUSINESS AREAS AND PREMISES – 20 points; 10%
A5. GREEN SPACES – 20 points; 10%
Seasonal floral displays are an important element of the RHS Britain in Bloom campaign, but must be proportionate to areas of sustainable planting and permanent landscaping within the entry.
Section B – Environmental Responsibility (25%; max 50 points)
In this section the judges will be looking for your year-round achievements in five key areas, encompassing care for the built environment as well as care for the natural environment:
- B1. Conservation and biodiversity
- B2. Resource management
- B3. Local heritage
- B4. Local environmental quality
- B5. Pride of place
Each of these key areas will make up 5% of your overall score and be worth a maximum of 10 points. While you will be marked on the specific criteria below, please bear in mind that judges will be considering environmental responsibility across all areas of your local campaign. For example, if you have an impressive seasonal floral display they will also want to know if you have achieved this with consideration for the environment: have you been able to grow your own plug plants; recycle the bedding; or reduce your water requirements?
In this section, judges will take account of:
B1. CONSERVATION AND BIODIVERSITY – 10 points; 5%
B2. RESOURCE MANAGEMENT – 10 points; 5%
B3. LOCAL HERITAGE – 10 points; 5%
B4. LOCAL ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY – 10 points; 5%
B5. PRIDE OF PLACE – 10 points; 5%
The judges will be looking for local Bloom groups to either initiate or actively engage with these environment-enhancing activities.
Section C – Community Participation (25%; max 50 points)
In this section the judges will be looking for your year-round achievements in five key areas:
- C1. Development and continuity C2. Communication and education
- C3. Community involvement
- C4. Year-round involvement
- C5. Funding and support
Each of these key areas will make up 5% of your overall score and be worth a maximum of 10 points. Community participation is crucial to the success of your local campaign and you should try to involve the community in all your Bloom activities.
In addition to inviting support for planting activities, think about other ways you can involve local people. For example, could you engage the community in recycling by coordinating an information campaign; or could you run an activity to inform people about sites of local heritage? While you will be marked on the specific criteria below, please bear in mind that judges will be considering community participation across all areas of your local campaign.
The judges will take account of:
C1. DEVELOPMENT AND CONTINUITY – 10 points; 5%
C2. COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATION – 10 points; 5%
C3. COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT – 10 points; 5%
C4. YEAR-ROUND INVOLVEMENT – 10 points; 5%
C5. FUNDING AND SUPPORT – 10 points; 5%
As Bloom is a community-driven campaign, it is expected that a diverse range of local people will be involved in your local campaign and that there will be broad-based public awareness and support. Increasing levels of participation may require the involvement of your local authority and other organisations – think creatively about the partnerships you can build.
**Please be aware that groups working with children and young people are responsible for ensuring that they are doing so in accordance with the law with regards to child protection and safety. For further information and guidance please contact your national volunteering body: Volunteer England; Volunteer Development Scotland; Wales Council for Voluntary Action; or the Volunteer Development Agency in Northern Ireland.