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In Bloom judges visit Farnham

Large group children standing behind a painting of an otter.

Judges from South and South East in Bloom visited Farnham this week to assess the town’s entries in the annual In Bloom competition. Judging began on 10 July when a team of Farnham in Bloom organisers and volunteers took the visitors on a tour which included local schools, a performance by children from The Dance Movement in Gostrey Meadow, stunning flower displays and edible planters of fruit and vegetables in South Street.

Councillor Stephen Hill, Lead Member for Farnham in Bloom says: “Getting the displays looking their best for the judges’ visits in the recent hot, dry spell has been an immense task but the whole team has risen to the challenge. The people involved in each element of Farnham’s entries – the schools, local shops and businesses, allotment holders and conservation groups, council workers and all the other volunteers – have pulled together to make Farnham look fantastic. I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed to this year’s Farnham in Bloom.

“As well as our volunteers, key to making Farnham in Bloom such a success is the support from our sponsors, including corporate sponsor Specsavers in Farnham. The judges met the Specsavers team when they visited West Street – they have really thrown themselves into supporting this year’s entry.”

The judges’ tours were meticulously planned to the minute to fit in as many of the projects as possible as months of preparation, planning, gardening, weeding and watering was condensed into just a matter of hours. Judges took in much of the tour on foot but were also transported by a hoppa bus to reach some locations.

At each stage, representatives of Farnham in Bloom explained the purpose of the planting and benefits to the community and environment such as through improving wildlife, conserving water, the benefits of gardening for children and bringing different sections of the community together.

To give a flavour of what the judges saw, Farnham in Bloom has produced a video showing several of this year’s highlights. The video is available on Farnham Town Council’s website and includes volunteers and supporters talking through the improvements Farnham in Bloom projects have made to communities in and around the town plus some of the planting schemes and wildlife projects that members of the public can visit.

Amazing floral displays alone are not enough to impress the judges. They will have also been looking for innovation and consistency across all aspects of Farnham’s entry. At the Ridgeway School, which is an RHS Five Star gardening school, horticulture lead Martin Billet explained how the school’s involvement in Farnham In Bloom is valuable not only to the pupils, as they garden throughout the year learning about horticulture, but also to the wider public as they pass on their skills to others and take part in open days for the community.

Judging took place over three days as Farnham in Bloom has entered several categories. Assessment of the entry to the small cemetery and large town categories was on 10 July, the town centre category on 11 July and then on 12 July, judges completed their visit in West Street Cemetery for the large cemetery entry.

Results of the competitions are announced in the autumn.

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