Britain in Bloom finalists announced

Garden and greenhouse enthusiasts in more than 60 towns, cities, villages and hamlets will soon begin preparations for a major horticultural competition.

According to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), 66 communities have been chosen to compete as finalists in its Britain in Bloom contest.

The organisation took over responsibility for the competition in 2002, but it has been in existence since 1964 when the tourist board used it as a way to market the UK to visitors.

RHS community horticultural manager Stephanie Eynon explained that Britain in Bloom has come a long way in its 46 years.

"Today we see the competition as a genuinely relevant and integrated initiative, enabling people to join together to improve their local communities through a range of long-term, sustainable and locally defined projects," she said.

Ms Eynon added that it also improves participants sense of civic pride and helps the environment.

Planting will officially begin on March 24th, with finalists being judged throughout August ahead of the awards ceremony on September 29th.

Last year, 13 finalists received gold awards, including Alness, Sheffield and Perth.