Nottingham in Bloom community effort reclaims crown

Eight wicker planters mark a triumphant return to gold for a city that abandoned national competition for several years to go back to its roots.

Nottingham scooped gold in the East Midlands in Bloom competition for its sculpture trail including a giant stiletto, ring, jacket and perfume bottle.

Head of parks Eddie Curry said the result was especially sweet because the sculptures represented a return to the competition for the first time in three years.

"We won champion of champions in 2008 and felt that having reached the top we should engage more directly with neighbourhoods.

"We created a network of more than 80 groups - 6,000 volunteers - to improve the places they live and love. We decided to compete again to celebrate this achievement."

Curry said the campaign was built on environmental sustainability and responsibility but helped build community spirit and ownership.

"Neighbours talked to each other and knocked on each other's doors for the first time in maybe 10 or 20 years," he added.

Topiary Art Designs, based in Suffolk, designed and built the wicker sculptures in a project worth around £25,000, funded by a consortium of city retailers.

Nottingham in Bloom working group chair Malcolm Wood praised the 6,000 volunteers who dug in for the campaign.

"This award is a credit to the community, business sponsors, the horticultural design group and the staff who work on the displays and the parks all year round."

Judges also praised the renovation of a cascade at Highfields Park and wild flower bedding displays at the University of Nottingham and the city's arboretum.

Other highlights included street floral displays created by residents and the Arkwright Meadows Community Gardens, hailed as a huge asset to the local community.

Praise went to wild flower meadows in several parks, ongoing work on nature reserves such as Martin's Pond and sustainability work at Nottingham Science Park.

Lark Hill retirement village won a silver award in the village category, a judges' award for enthusiasm of residents and a special award for best new permanent landscape.


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