Reed Hall and its gardens

Petals power the University as it prepares for Britain in Bloom judging

Judges from the Royal Horticultural Society will descend on Exeter this week to assess the city's entry for Britain in Bloom. 

After an absence of over ten years, Exeter is taking part in this year’s prestigious competition. Judging will take place in Exeter on Tuesday 8 July before the results are announced in September

In April, the Chairman of RHS Britain in Bloom South West, Jon Wheatley, said he was "delighted" to welcome Exeter back to the competition. Exeter was one of the 'highlight' cities when the competition started 50 years ago and although it has been absent from the main category event for over a decade, its return this year has thrilled the organisers.

The foundation of Exeter’s entry is the unique connection it has with one of the foremost nurseries in the UK during the 1700s and 1800s headed by the internationally acclaimed family of plant hunters, collectors and nurserymen, the Veitch family. The Italianate terraced gardens surrounding Reed Hall on the University’s Streatham campus were planted from the nurseries owned at the time by Robert Veitch.

Iain Park, Director of Grounds at the University of Exeter said: “We are really pleased to be able to support the city of Exeter in its bid to win a coveted RHS award. Participation in the competition enhances the outdoor environment for everyone living, working and studying in Exeter and the University has an important role to play in this as it is a popular destination for visitors, tourists and residents alike.”

Cllr Keith Owen, Exeter City Council’s Lead Councillor for Environment, Health & Wellbeing, said he was excited at the prospect of the judging stage: “A lot of hard work has gone into this bid. Our parks staff have been working diligently, attending to the blooms and I am very grateful for the work of Parks Watch who have devoted so much time and effort in getting involved in this initiative.” 

The decision to take part in Britain in Bloom SW Main Competition follows the outstanding results achieved last year by the 14 community groups across the city who entered the smaller category called 'It's Your Neighbourhood' (IYN) category which enables community groups to celebrate the green spaces - parks, allotments, cemeteries, traffic islands - in their own area which they have helped to maintain, plant and encourage to flourish.

This category, independent of the main competition for the city itself and assessed separately, had more than 500 entries from across the South West Region last year and it is anticipated the number of entries for this year will reach 600. Last year, awards for these groups were presented to Exeter Parks Watch members at a superb celebratory event held at Truro Cathedral which paid tribute to the commitment and creativity of the participating members. A list of Award Winners and full details can be found at www.exeterparkswatch.org Click on 'RHS'.

This year even more groups from Exeter have entered 'It's Your Neighbourhood' and they will be assessed later this month. 

Date: 7 July 2014

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