NORTH Berwick in Bloom is one of five community gardening groups in Scotland chosen to participate in new UK-wide community gardening awards.

Alongside groups in Aberdeen, Dumfries, Kirkconnel in Dumfries and Galloway, and Kinnesswood in Perth and Kinross, the North Berwick group was chosen to represent Scotland in this year’s UK Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Community Awards.

The awards replace the Britain in Bloom finals for the first time in the competition’s 57-year history.

North Berwick in Bloom volunteers hard at work

North Berwick in Bloom volunteers hard at work

North Berwick in Bloom achieved the highest marks in the Beautiful Scotland competition in 2019 and expected to take part in the finals last year; however, they were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The virtual awards will celebrate community gardening and recognise groups for their efforts in transforming their local areas.

All the groups will submit evidence digitally in up to three of the five award categories to a panel of experts.

Barry Fisher, CEO of Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “We’re delighted to have the opportunity to put forward five of our Beautiful Scotland groups into the UK RHS Community Awards this year. I’d like to congratulate the groups and wish them luck in these difficult and challenging times.

“Never before have good-quality, clean and green spaces been so important to our economy and our personal health and wellbeing.

“The groups, with their hard-working volunteers, make our neighbourhoods, indeed our country, so much better for the efforts they put in, and they all go that extra mile to pull their communities together.”

North Berwick in Bloom volunteers hard at work

North Berwick in Bloom volunteers hard at work

Libby Morris, chair of North Berwick in Bloom, said: “Despite the lack of competitions last year, our volunteers continued to be busy all through 2020 and so many people enjoyed the benefits of colourful flowers and floral displays while out on their walks during lockdown.

“The first lockdown coincided with our tulip festival and gave everyone a boost, so we will be carrying on with all of our usual activities again this year.

“We recently joined up with local shopkeepers to fill the ‘Covid traffic planters’ with flowers to brighten up High Street and have plans to plant edible flowers and vegetables in the summer. We normally plant up summer floral displays at the town’s High Street and railway station, as well as look after 30 permanent beds and several wildflower areas.

“This year’s awards will be very different, but we will be working with other community groups on joint litter picks and a project to clean and paint the towns’ white benches to make it easier for everyone to get out for walks.” 

Other community projects will include a summer sunflower challenge and a new ‘Fishbox Challenge’, which repurposes used polystyrene fish boxes to create summer displays and mini gardens from plants and materials that have been recycled.

There will be prizes for the best entry, the best street, and the best junior entry, with entries possibly positioned in public spaces or featuring in Fringe by the Sea.