THE FLOURISHING neighbourhoods, spaces and habitats of Tunbridge Wells will be judged nationally after the town won gold medals and a category award in the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) regional competition.
As reported in last week’s Times, the Royal Town walked away from the South & South East In Bloom (SSEIB) with a gold medal in the Small City category, as well as of dozens of smaller specific prizes.
Royal Tunbridge Wells is now hoping for an invitation to compete in the national Britain In Bloom competition next year.
In addition to the prestige of being part of the UK-wide competition, participation would also include the opportunity to purchase affordable insurance cover specifically created for community gardening groups and access to a range of seed giveaways, said Britain In Bloom.
‘In Bloom’ communities tackle everything from litter, graffiti and anti-social behaviour through to conservation, sustainability and improving horticultural standards.
Royal Tunbridge Wells In Bloom won dozens of medals at the SSEIB awards on September 23, with the judges praising how broad an effort gardeners, friends’ groups and the local authority had made.
“RTW has fantastic examples of horticulture from managing the more formal approach, such as bedding, together with the increasing development across the town of more sustainable horticulture,” said the judges in their notes.
“There are increasing examples of herbaceous perennial plantings within the parks and open spaces that surround the town, which are excellent for nature and improve sustainability.”
Tunbridge Wells’ three largest parks, Calverley Grounds, Dunorlan Park and Grosvenor and Hilbert Park won gold medals, while Tunbridge Wells Cemetery won gold for the Large Cemetery/ Crematorium category.
Tunbridge Wells Common was awarded a silver gilt medal and won the category of Large Common and Open Space, while Barnetts Wood won silver for the Large Conservation category.
Woodbury Park Cemetery, the ‘Victorian gem’ that featured in the recent Heritage Open Days, won gold in the Churchyard category.
The SSEIB judges also recognised the benefit which volunteers and friends groups offer to park life, making awards to a number of the local friends groups.
Cllr Wendy Fitzsimmons, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Wellbeing and Culture, said: ‘Such brilliant news and so well deserved.
“Thank you to all our contractors, council officers and the volunteers who have made our town such a lovely place to live. Congratulations!”