Sidmouth puts on a stunning show for national In Bloom judges

RHS judges Kim Parish and June Tainsh with Sidmouth in Bloom chair Lynette Talbot and Cllr Hilary Nelson

RHS judges Kim Parish and June Tainsh with Sidmouth in Bloom chair Lynette Talbot and Cllr Hilary Nelson - Credit: Contributed

Sidmouth was shown off in all its horticultural glory to the Britain in Bloom judges on Monday, August 1. 

For the first time, Sidmouth is competing for a national award, as well as aiming for gold in the regional awards, whose judges visited last month. 

National judges Kim Parish and June Tainsh from the Royal Horticultural Society began their visit at the Belmont Hotel, where Sidmouth in Bloom gave a presentation of the year’s work. 

The Britain in Bloom judges with their welcoming party at the Belmont Hotel, Sidmouth

The Britain in Bloom judges with their welcoming party at the Belmont Hotel, Sidmouth - Credit: Contributed

Next they spent three hours touring Sidmouth’s parks and gardens, including the grounds of the Belmont Hotel and Blackmore Gardens with its Wind in the Willows children’s feature, Climate Change tropical garden and the new alpine rockery. There they met Alan Fowler, the head gardener from East Devon District Council, who has just retired after more than 40 years working in Sidmouth. 

They were shown the Friends of the Byes community orchard, the new Radway seating area and hanging baskets, the Sensory Garden, the Coral Seating Area and Wave border. 

Their tour ended in Connaught Gardens, where a sustainable planting scheme was introduced earlier this year, with traditional flower beds being replaced by colourful plants that bloom all year round and create wildlife habitats. 

As well as high standards of gardening, the national judges are looking for community involvement. During the tour, Sidmouth in Bloom’s chair Lynette Talbot introduced them to members of the many voluntary groups whose work helps keep the town looking beautiful. 

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Peter Endersby of Sidmouth in Bloom said he was pleased with the judges’ visit, as it had showcased horticultural excellence along with dedication to environmental care and responsibility, and ‘the whole community working together to meet the exacting conditions of a successful entry’. 

He added that the tour had begun and ended in places with ‘the wow factor’ - Belmont Hotel and Connaught Gardens – and that Sidmouth in Bloom ‘had given it their best shot’ for a national award.  

The regional and national award winners will be announced in October. Sidmouth in Bloom have thanked the Belmont Hotel for hosting the judges’ presentation free of charge, as well as all those involved in cleaning up the town and showing the judges the best of Sidmouth.