RHS Britain in Bloom
This community competition runs every year to reward the best communal gardening efforts in Britain’s villages, towns and cities. More than 1,000 communities enter the competition every year which is then whittled down to a shortlist of 70 for the finals. The programme awards not only ‘blooms’ but also environmental efforts and community participation. The competition was inspired by the similar ‘Fleurissement de France’ across the channel, a de Gaulle initiated campaign to brighten up local areas.
The competition premiered in 1963, organised by the British Tourist Authority before coming under the umbrella of the RHS later on. There are a number of different categories to fit the different settlement circumstances, such as ‘small village’ or ‘urban community’. Entries take place over two years starting at regional level before progressing to national stages.
RHS Chelsea Flower Show
The annual flower show is probably Britain’s best known gardening event and has been run annually since 1913, except during the war years. The show has grown from 244 exhibitors at the original show to 550 this year. The Chelsea Gold prize record holder is Hillier Nurseries with a staggering 66 wins so far. Awards are given for Best Show Garden, Best Fresh Garden, Best Artisan Garden, Best Florist of the Year and Product of the Year among others. A new television series to be shown on BBC2 is being filmed this summer following up and coming garden designers hoping to create winning displays for next year’s show.
RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show
Britain’s largest gardening show features a number of attractions, shopping and celebrity talks. One notable past gold medal winner was Leyhill Open Prison in 1998 with its garden display. The film ‘Greenfingers’, starring Helen Mirren, depicted the circumstances of the win in 2001. Amateur and professional gardeners can enter the various awards categories, which this year included a ‘First World War Scarecrow Competition’. Other awards given include Best Summer Garden, Gardens on a Budget and Best Conceptual Garden.
Society of Garden Designers Awards
SGD members of all levels can enter the annual industry competition, celebrating excellence in garden design both in the UK and internationally. Categories span all areas of garden design including hard landscaping, public spaces and historic garden renovation and there are special student awards given. The judges are respected industry experts who in the past have rewarded a terrace garden in Hong Kong.
Britain’s Best Garden
The Daily Mail National Garden Competition is in its 22nd edition this year. Designed for amateur gardeners to show off their skills, winners receive a first prize of £2,000 while all four finalists will receive a bespoke, individually commissioned blue plaque celebrating their achievement. Interested parties need to send at least four and a maximum of eight pictures of their garden plus a plan and judges will choose a shortlist of entries to visit.
Previous winners include Derbyshire’s High Roost in Simmondley, a clever mix of herbaceous borders, archways, terraced slopes and gentle pathways carefully created to attract wildlife. The garden is open to the public on certain days during the summer.