The South and South East in Bloom 2013 competition is part of the Royal Horticultural Society Britain in Bloom.
I have become a judge for this initiative, representing the West Sussex County Times and its sister paper the West Sussex Gazette, tackling the judging from the community side of the fence.
The Civic Halls in Crawley was the venue for this year’s South and South East in Bloom judges’ briefing and there are hundreds of entries to judge this year. Every year the number of entries is increasing.
Southern Water, a supporter for the past 13 years, actively encourages the use of water butts and is in the process of fitting water meters to achieve sustainable communities.
Gardening represents only 30 per cent of the total marks awarded, the competition is also about the community.
The aim is to engage communities and groups to build a sense of pride that communities can have in the place.
As part of a growing campaign, the competition seeks to encourage as well as reward those that enter. There are special awards for Champions of Champions and discretionary awards, awards for schools and neighbourhoods as well as the parks maintained by local authorities.
South and South East in Bloom covers a very large area from Bexhill to Battle, from Storrington and Chichester to towns and villages in Surrey, Hampshire and beyond, encouraging large and small communities to enter.
Entries have now closed and the competition is judged during July, just before the national judging takes place, with the presentation being held in Tunbridge Wells on September 11.
Good luck to all that have entered.
Mayes Lane, Warnham