BLOOMING Haddington volunteers are waiting to find out if their green-fingered efforts have struck gold.

Judges from Beautiful Scotland, run by Keep Scotland Beautiful, have been visiting towns and villages ahead of the awards ceremony next month.

Gregor McGillivray and Penny Wright cast their eye over Haddington on August 2 and were given a comprehensive tour of its horticultural highlights.

Frances Wright, chairwoman of Blooming Haddington, was on hand to meet the judges.

She said: “We are delighted that this year’s visit was back to normal following last year’s Covid-19 restricted visit.

“A number of volunteers and Blooming Haddington supporters were able to meet the judges and inform them of the part they play in keeping the town looking its best.

“We were also pleased that the weather was kind and that the sun shone during the time the judges were with us.”

Tour of town

The tour took judges and volunteers across the town, beginning at the John Gray Centre.

Then it was on to the Corn Exchange, before checking out the bug hotel on Neilson Park Road.

Judges and Blooming Haddington representatives then made their way through Neilson Park and on to the Oriental Garden, before taking the bus to the Station Road garden.

From there, it was over to Amisfield Walled Garden, St Mary’s Parish Church, Ball Alley and the Nungate Bridge.

The group then made its way through St Mary’s Pleasance Garden before stopping at the rear of the former George Hotel.

The boxes outside Falko and the Mercat Cross were next, before a visit to Carlyle Court and a return to the John Gray Centre.

Mrs Wright told the Courier that it had been a real community effort in ensuring the town was looking its best.

'A huge thank you'

She added: “Blooming Haddington would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone involved in preparing the town for the judges’ visit.

“This includes the dedicated team of volunteers who give up their time, East Lothian Council, the businesses and community groups of Haddington who sponsor hanging baskets and containers, Amisfield Walled and St Mary’s Pleasance gardens, Friends of the River Tyne, Rotary Haddington and the local community for their continued support and generous donations.

“Once again, the judges were impressed with the planting used throughout the town and it was noted how fortunate we are to have the East Lothian Council nursery, where many of the plants used in the hanging baskets, town centre planters and the public parks are grown from seed or cuttings and nurtured to full-sized plants.

“This allows for more unusual planting plans and goes a long way towards supporting Haddington and other East Lothian bloom groups’ efforts in keeping their towns and villages beautiful.”

The awards were scaled back in recent years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, Beautiful Scotland is looking forward to a full competition, with a ceremony due to take place on September 15, when medal certificates, category awards and discretionary awards will be handed out.

Some of the winners from Beautiful Scotland 2022

will go on to represent Scotland in the UK-wide RHS Britain in Bloom Finals next year.