Britain in Bloom champion goes out with a bang

Nottingham scooped the ultimate accolade in last week's Royal Horticultural Society-led Britain in Bloom awards.

The man behind some of the designs for Britain in Bloom’s Champion of Champions winner is going out on a high as he retires from his role at the University of Nottingham.

But University of Nottingham grounds manager Ian Cooke, who designed the bedding displays for the university gardens and Nottingham Castle grounds in his capacity as Chair of the Nottingham in Bloom Design Group, is now handing over the reins.

New grounds manager Desmond O’Grady has a strong horticultural pedigree, starting his career with a commercial landscape contractor before moving on to work for Cambridge University Botanic Garden and Cambridge University Colleges.

O'Grady has also taught RHS examination courses and still acts as a correspondence course tutor.

Desmond O’Grady said: “I have a keen interest in designing quality environmental space for people to enjoy, the progressive approach evident in the University grounds attracted me to the post.

“Ian Cooke has managed the grounds in a pro-active way, creating a stunning landscape with smaller compartments each with its own concept and quality, and I hope to continue successfully with this theme.

“I am looking forward to working closely with the staff team at the University and groups who enjoy the grounds.”

Ian Cooke said: “I am thrilled to be handing the grounds over to another enthusiastic horticulturalist.

“Gardens inevitably reflect the interests and styles of those that care for them and I have had much pleasure expressing my flamboyant style in parts of the grounds.

“I look forward with interest to see what new innovations Desmond O’Grady will initiate.”

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