The RHS has announced this year’s 70 finalists for Britain in Bloom, with 63 per cent focusing on greening urban areas.
Nearly two thirds of the finalists are looking to regenerate high streets and cities. The Business Improvement Districts, Town and City Centres category was introduced two years ago and there has been a surge in entries since that point.
Among the ten finalists that are greening central shopping and business hubs are Blackburn and Paddington, London.
The competition, which is in its 56th year, aims to showcase the horticultural skills of communities across the country. Finalists compete across 11 categories including Village, Town and Coastal. Each finalist is visited by a pair of RHS judges in August.
Last year the Scottish city of Perth won the competition, with its community approach to sustainability, pollinator-friendly planting and campaign to collect plastic.
Chair of the Britain in Bloom judging panel Darren Share said: “We’re noticing more towns and cities keen to tackle some of today’s most pressing challenges by tapping into the benefits of urban greening, with reasons ranging from concerns about our changing climate and air pollution to turning the tide on high street decline.”
Finalists include Dunstable (Large Town), King’s Lynn (Business Improvement Districts, Town Centres and City Centres), Penrith (Large Town), Boston (Large Town), Royal Tunbridge Wells (Large Town), Canterbury (Small City), Sandown (Coastal), Ballymena (Large Town), Usk (Large Village) and Leeds (Business Improvement Districts, Town Centres and City Centres).