The culmination of a year’s planning, preparation and planting was put under the critical gaze of judges at Glenrothes bid’s to become the ‘Champion of Champions’.
Today (Tuesday), the many hours of effort and toil from green-fingered volunteers and Fife Council’s parks and recreation staff where being inspected by members of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) judging panel.
Glenrothes is competing against four other specially invited communities - City of London, Shrewsbury, Woolton in Liverpool and Ahoghill (Ulster), for the chance to be crowned ‘Champion of Champions’, the ultimate prize for previous Gold Medal winners in the prestigious and hotly contested Britain In Bloom competition.
And there is an added impetus to claim the award this year as the UK’s largest community gardening campaign celebrates its 50th anniversary.
It is also the last time Glenrothes will enter the annual floral extravaganza due to funding cuts.
RHS judges Mark Wasilewski and Brendan Mowforth met community representatives to go on a tour of local projects, assessing In Bloom campaigns against three key criteria - horticultural achievement, community participation and environmental responsibility.
Judges will also be taking sustainable practices and inventive schemes to raise money to fund projects into account.
Jim Leitch of Fife Council said his staff were going all out to try and bring the prize to Glenrothes.
“There’s been a huge amount of planting this year but also an extensive range of wild flower beds created alongside main roads in Thornton, Leslie, Woodside, Pitcoudie, Stenton and Finglassie, the biodiversity and environmental benefits are an important aspect of our entry,” Jim explained.
“To be invited to compete is a massive honour and one we certainly didn’t expect, hopefully we can do Glenrothes proud and secure a gold medal, or even the title, that would be fitting for the effort everyone has made.”
The town now has an anxious wait until October before the winner is announced.
‘Growing For Gold’ is this year’s theme
Since the competition started back in 1963, it has evolved from a floral competition to the environmental campaign it is today.
The highlight the 2014 theme of the campaign saw half a million pollinator-friendly sunflower seeds sown in public spaces across Britain in April, a clear tip of the hat towards sustainable and environmentally conscious planning, with its gaze set firmly on the future.
Stephanie Eynon, RHS community horticultural manager said: “What better way to celebrate this huge anniversary for Britain than a mass planting of beautiful golden sunflowers.
“These gorgeous and uplifting plants have been known to grow an astonishing 20 feet high, which reflects the sort of spirit and drive we associate with RHS Britain in Bloom volunteers.”
The RHS took over as the organising body of the competition in 2001.