Bury in Bloom 2020 reveals some hidden gems.

Bury in Bloom’s front garden competition went ahead earlier this month (week commencing 13th July). Included in the team of judges were Zoe West and Chris Oakes of Hazells. And by special request Jane Sewell (former property manager with Hazells) returned to lend her horticultural prowess!

Nearly 100 judges and team leaders covered every part of the town to make sure every residential and non-residential property was given a look, getting a chance to win a Certificate of Merit.

Judges also awarded the coveted ‘Highly Commended’ certificate where they saw outstanding effort.

Zoe said: “This was my third year of judging and while the presentation of gardens was to its usual high standard I was impressed by the increase in number of gardens worthy of a Certificate of Merit”.

David Irvine, Bury in Bloom coordinator, said: “Isolation and lockdown has seen so many people with more time on their hands turn to gardening.

“We wanted to acknowledge their work making our town a more attractive place to live. We had looked forward greatly to judging week because we knew there are front gardens to discover.

“The Certificate of Merit demonstrates our appreciation by recognising gardeners’ efforts and we hope this encourages them. We were relieved and delighted the restrictions had been eased enough to allow us to go ahead,” he said.

Organising the front gardens scheme this year had not been without its problems for Jane Hamblin, the Certificates of Merit coordinator, and David Irvine as Bury in Bloom struggled to comply with government regulations.

This year they had to look very carefully at the safety of judges and had to introduce new protocols as well as completing a risk assessment.

“We have been preparing since January,” said Mrs Hamblin. “We judge in a walk-by style and its obviously subjective, however the judges are well briefed. They look out for the wow factor and can also award a Highly Commended certificate.”

She added: “As always we took account of conditions and this year the shutdown has affected most people.”

David Irvine said they were “immensely grateful” to their judges – who do not need horticultural qualifications.

Hazells will continue to support Bury in Bloom by providing judges, sponsoring the Northgate roundabout and displaying hanging baskets to the front of our offices in Short Brackland.

Chris Oakes

July 2020