Help clean up Sidmouth as In Bloom judges' visit approaches

Sidmouth in Bloom volunteer Ann Leake with Noel Sinker in Connaught Gardens

Sidmouth in Bloom volunteer Ann Leake with Noel Sinker, who works for EDDC Streetscene and helps look after Connaught Gardens - Credit: Lynette Talbot

As Sidmouth prepares to welcome the judges for this year’s South West in Bloom competition, residents are being invited to help make the town look its best. 

Sidmouth in Bloom Volunteers Ann, Lynette and Sue in Blackmore Gardens

Sidmouth in Bloom Volunteers Ann, Lynette and Sue working on the Toad of Toad Hall floral exhibit in Blackmore Gardens - Credit: Mark Eburne

Prior to the judges’ visit on Friday, July 15, there will be a clean-up weekend on July 9 and 10. 

Sidmouth in Bloom chair Lynette Talbot said: “We would like the town to be spotless, clean and weeded for the judges’ visit. We want the beach cleaned, no rubbish – and everyone can do their bit.” 

Sidmouth in Bloom will be outside the Tourist Information Centre in Ham Lane at 10am on Saturday, July 9 and Sunday 10, ready to direct helpers to the areas that need attention. 

Lynette said: “Equipment will be provided, but if they can bring gloves and a bucket, that would help.” 

Last year Sidmouth won joint Gold in the South West in Bloom Champion of Champions category, sharing the top prize with Kingsbridge, and the Sargent Trophy for the ‘outstanding effort and dedication’ of the Sidmouth In Bloom (SIB) volunteers.  

While Lynette is hoping for another regional gold, this year the stakes are even higher, as Sidmouth will also be competing for a national Britain in Bloom award. 

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The national judges are due to visit Sidmouth on Monday, August 1, and there will be another clean-up weekend on July 23 and 24 to prepare for that. 

This year’s In Bloom competition sees an increased emphasis on environment-friendly gardening, as the Royal Horticultural Society puts sustainability ‘at the heart of Britain in Bloom. 

This has been reflected in Sidmouth in Bloom’s work throughout the year, with the team seeking to encourage biodiversity, save energy and use sustainable products.  

Community involvement is another important criteria in the judging, and Sidmouth in Bloom has been encouraging residents to join its planting sessions and ‘Sidbashers’ blitzes on Himalyan balsam.  

Lynette said she is cautiously optimistic about this year’s In Bloom competition, while acknowledging that it isn’t possible to predict the judges’ decisions. 

She said: “We know we do good work, and as long as our standard work is good and we meet the criteria of horticulture, community and environment we should do well.”