Reading mayor Councillor Deborah Edwards attended the launch of the 40th year of Reading in Bloom (RIB) at the Hilton Hotel, Kennet Island on 8 May. The gathering included local community gardening groups such as the Katesgrove community allotment and it was addressed by Marc Allridge, chair of RIB.
Reading participates in the regional Thames and Chilterns in Bloom competition and there is also a town-wide gardening contest. There are 11 categories for entries, including residential or community gardens, allotments and commercial premises and a schools’ challenge. This year, there are two new categories for residential container gardens and workplace gardens.
Pete Thompson, RIB committee member and regional judge, said that the three pillars of the competition were horticulture, environment and community.
Ricky Josey, who oversees the Katesgrove community allotment at Waterloo Meadows, said that their sessions on the second and fourth Saturday of the month from 10am-1pm had an average attendance of eight people this year. This meant that the whole area of the plot had been dug and they were trying to grow okra, turmeric and ginger in sheltered spots.
- Front gardens less than 12 feet long,
- front gardens more that 12 feet long,
- balconies, hanging baskets and window boxes,
- shared gardens (where a residential garden is cared for by more than one person),
- new category: container gardens (where all planting is in containers).
- A community garden looked after by members of a community in a non-residential setting.
- Most eco-friendly,
- most attractive,
- best maintained,
- new category: staff well-being garden,
- exterior of pubs and restaurants.
Schools can also be nominated for the schools challenge competition which is supported by a grant from the Lions Club.
Reading in Bloom is part of the Britain in Bloom competition organised by the Royal Horticultural Society. Sponsors include Cherubs Floral Design, the Crowne Plaza Hotel, A B Walker and Reading Business Improvement District.
The deadline for entries is 28 June and, as well as the online entries, entry forms should be available soon from the Reading Borough Council’s Civic Offices on Bridge Street, from libraries and from garden centres.