Shropshire Star

In Bloom group celebrating being chosen as a finalist in national committee

A north Shropshire village has reached the finals of the 2024 Royal Horticultural Society Britain In Bloom competition.


Norton-in-Hales is one of eight finalists in the village category - selected from across the UK - who will welcome national judges in the summer.

If they become category winner they then go into the competition to be named overall winner in what is the 60th anniversary year of the UK’s biggest gardening competition.

Chairperson of Norton In Bloom, Sarah Moulson, said members were thrilled by the news.

Sarah Moulson and other in-bloom members

"It is all systems go to get everything in place for the judges' visit, we have big plans," she said.

"We have about 20 In Bloom members but also more volunteers who help us by maybe looking after a flower bed or one of the flower barrels."

Sarah said people could get involved in the regular working parties.

"They are good fun with good company and great cake, and never last more than a couple of hours."


"We have men and women that get involved and it is great for people who perhaps are new to Norton-in-Hales to get involved in the community. In fact one person bought a house here because when she drove through the village she was so impressive with how pretty it was - and is now involved with In Bloom.

"Residents are also behind us, in fact some are always keen to now our colour scheme plans so they can put the same colours in their gardens or plant pots.

"I want residents to feel that whatever their skill set, or horticultural experience, this should not preclude them from the joy of taking pride in looking after and tending to the floral displays around the village.”

"People have helped towards applying for grant funding, building raised beds, compost bays and sponsorship. Residents have assisted with fundraising through events such as plant sales, plant swaps, Easter egg hunts for the children, duck races on the River Tern and most recently the designing and construction of a fabulous bird hide, which enabled everyone, old and young alike, to watch nature undetected."


Judges will assess each group according to criteria that evaluate their commitment to improving the local environment, community engagement and horticultural excellence.

Sarah said community engagement included input from the village school, which had a gardening club and raised beds, growing vegetables and flowers.

"We have also moved from annuals to perennials, use peat-free compost and have water butts around the village. We have also bird and bat boxes," she added.

Kay Clark, RHS community development manager, said: “While planting trends may change and environmental practices evolve, the belief that plants and communal green spaces are important for creating healthy and happy communities endures. Britain in Bloom groups across the UK work to enhance the local environment, share skills and knowledge, and create opportunities to improve local wellbeing.

"In this special anniversary year, we’ve chosen the theme of friendship, to highlight the way in which community gardening can bring people together and enrich lives.”

As part of this year’s anniversary celebrations the RHS will be sharing ‘friendship flower seeds’ to all of the Britain In Bloom groups to celebrate the enduring friendships made through caring for plants as a community and a love of gardening. Over two million flowers, including sweet peas, cosmos, nigella, gypsophila, rudbeckias and zinnias will be sown and planted by In Bloom groups to create spectacular displays of cut flowers for everyone to enjoy.

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