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News items from the Year


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Getting ready to blossom in 2019

28 February


Harrogate and Pateley Bridge will be flying the flag for Yorkshire as both towns have been invited to enter Britain in Bloom 2019.  We won’t be competing against them as we are in different categories.  We’ll be going for our thirteenth national title.

Did you see episode 1 of Monty Don’s new series on 15 February?  Monty travels to Japan to trace the history of Japanese gardens and in the opening few minutes you would have thought he was in Japan but he was actually at Tatton Park. 

The Tatton Japanese Garden was almost certainly the result of Alan de Tatton’s visit to the Anglo-Japanese Exhibition at the White City in London in 1910.  Since authenticity was regarded as of the utmost importance, trees, shrubs, wooden buildings, bridges, and even stones were brought in from Japan for this exhibition

Inspired by what he saw there, Alan de Tatton decided to introduce a Japanese Garden to Tatton which is now rated to be the ‘finest example of a Japanese Garden in Europe.’

Apparently Tatton was not alone in his desire to create a Japanese Garden as many other Europeans did too.  Some remain others long gone.  And it is thanks to the Friends of the Valley Gardens that our own Japanese Garden has been fully reclaimed and authentically restored.  It’s a beautiful area of a magnificent public garden and I urge you to visit as spring starts to blossom.

Finally, a big thank you to the Fat Badger and White Hart Hotel for publicly celebrating their success in our own Harrogate in Bloom awards.  Lots of businesses display their certificates but this is the first time a business has put a sign on the outside of its premises.  Good one to show the BIB judges!

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Clearing the decks for 2019



What is it about the New Year that gets us all wanting to be in better shape?  Just like at home, groups like ours have to have a good tidy up after the holidays and be ready to start afresh.  We’ve already had our first meeting of Team Harrogate for 2019 and we were really pleased to welcome new representatives from Friends of the Valley Gardens and Horticap.  There’s also been a few changes to representatives from other groups so contact details have to be amended and recirculated and important to update the website.

What is it about the New Year that gets us all wanting to be in better shape?  Just like at home, groups like ours have to have a good tidy up after the holidays and be ready to start afresh.  We’ve already had our first meeting of Team Harrogate for 2019 and we were really pleased to welcome new representatives from Friends of the Valley Gardens and Horticap.  There’s also been a few changes to representatives from other groups so contact details have to be amended and recirculated and important to update the website.

Many of the groups making up Team Harrogate will be cleaning out bat and bird boxes this month including the Pinewoods and Nidd Gorge preparing for new nesting.

Another job for January is to start the ball rolling for Harrogate in Bloom’s Children’s Art Competition working with the North of England Horticultural Society (Harrogate Flower Shows) who sponsor this competition.  This is very popular with primary schools and children’s nurseries who will shortly be receiving their competition packs.

This year we have decided on a cycling theme to link to the UCI Road World Championships which will take place in Harrogate in September.  The competition will focus on a bicycle wheel.  The little ones will be asked to colour it in and the older children will be asked to design it like a flower bed getting creative between the spokes. 

With the help of the council and the Flower Shows this ‘wheel’ will be planted up near to the Championships’ finish line.

You may have seen that town centre streets have been getting a steam clean this month, thanks to Harrogate Borough Council.  Beaulah Street and the area around the War Memorial are finished and you can certainly see a difference.

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Seeds of success: David Wilson Homes sponsors annual Harrogate in Bloom awards ceremony

18 September


17 September 2018: Award-winning housebuilder, David Wilson Homes, is the proud sponsor of Harrogate in Bloom’s Awards Afternoon; an event that recognises the hard work and commitment that the town has put into nourishing its gardens and the local wildlife.

David Wilson Homes has offered its support to the event by acting as sole sponsor and donating £600 to support the awards ceremony, the trophies and the personalised engraving. Tom Breckon, Sales Adviser from David Wilson Homes’ nearby The Pastures development in Knaresborough, will also be presenting the award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Harrogate’s in bloom campaign’ at the ceremony on Sunday 23rd September at St Wilfrid’s Church.

Tom commented: “We’re thrilled to be sponsoring such an important community event. We strongly believe in looking after the local wildlife and this is something we aim to achieve with all of our developments. Our longstanding partnership with RSBP exemplifies our commitment to boosting biodiversity and promoting wildlife. Sponsoring the awards ceremony and presenting the award is a great opportunity for us to congratulate the many residents who have participated and celebrate their hard work. We’re looking forward to seeing some fantastic winning entries!”

Pam Grant, President of Harrogate in Bloom, commented: “We’re delighted to be receiving the support of David Wilson Homes at this year’s Harrogate in Bloom awards ceremony. It’s wonderful to have a local housebuilder, which is committed to supporting the town and encouraging the wildlife. It’s going to be a truly fantastic afternoon and we’re expecting a great turnout!”.

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Spring spurs on hardy annuals



Spring is certainly upon us and as ever it is a joy to see the season's colours unfold.   At this time of year our own 'annuals' are also nicely growing.
Entries in our Children's Spring 'Design a Garden' Art Competition are flooding in.  For 2019 we’ve chosen cycling as the theme to link to September's UCI and we’ve asked children to design a garden shaped like a cycle wheel.  The winning design will be planted in the circular flowerbed near Bettys on Montpellier Hill.  Something to show the Britain in Bloom judges in August and we hope the winners will be able to join us as the judges like to see how children are encouraged to get involved.   We are grateful to Harrogate Flower Shows and Harrogate Council who support this competition.

We also work with the council on our 'Blooming Business' Hanging Baskets scheme.  Sadly, we’ve lost a few businesses this year but happily gained a few new ones.  We’ll still see more than 125 hanging baskets outside town centre business premises on top of the 600 the council puts up in public places.  Thanks to all the businesses who support this project.

This spring saw our first meeting with the newly formed Harrogate Business Improvement District together with representatives from the long-established Chamber of Trade.  A very productive meeting and the BID certainly has some exciting plans.

Both bodies are supporting our inaugural Summer Shop Window competition.  We were so bowled over in 2018 at the number of shops using flowers - fresh or faux - to entice shoppers that we decided to launch this new addition to our annual competitions. 

We were even offered space in the BID’s first newsletter to promote the Shop Window Competition so we are hoping for an enthusiastic response.

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Nurturing budding horticulturists



April is a particularly busy month and May is going the same way.  Busy as bees but all worthwhile activity around Team Harrogate groups from weeding, planting and litter picking to laying new footpaths, birds and butterfly counting.

First mention has to be for this year’s Harrogate Spring Flower Show.  Many congratulations to Show Director Nick Smith and his team as the show gets bigger and better every year; full of inspiration and ideas as well as being a great family day out.

I was lucky enough to be invited to help judge the trade stands along with Lucinda Compton of Newby Hall and Simon Cotton MD of Harrogate’s HRH Group of hotels.  We were supported by Mike I’Anson who made sure we kept to our route and didn’t miss a stand!  It takes us nearly four hours and is thoroughly enjoyable.

It was also a joy to visit Horticap’s Lord of the Rings show garden and to chat to some of the students as well as Manager Phil Airey - a tireless Gandalf!  This brilliant garden received a Premier Gold and was also awarded the President’s trophy.  A well-deserved recognition for this amazing horticultural charity for people with learning difficulties.  

We had a staggering 592 entries in our children’s art and design a garden competition.   The winning design was created by Fleur Kean of Brackenfield School.  With the support of sponsors Harrogate Flower Shows and Harrogate Council, Fearn will see her design come to life in a flower bed opposite Bettys on Montpellier Hill.

We are hoping to have use of this flower bed each year to plant up the winning design and Nick Smith has had the brilliant idea of linking colour themes to plant descriptions and let the youngsters make the connection in their designs.

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Wine and roses but it is the name of a plant!

11 July


June has been a disappointment weatherwise but nothing lifts the spirits like a glass of wine.  So that’s what a group of us from Team Harrogate enjoyed as we got together to finalise plans for our Britain in Bloom entry.  A big thank you to Andy of Harrogate Fine Wines on Montpellier Street who hosted us in his wine tasting room. Montpellier is a beautiful part of town with lovely shops and restaurants.  Do pop into see Andy and pick up a leaflet about upcoming wine tasting events.

Many businesses in the Montpellier Quarter back our ‘in bloom’ campaign and most have our hanging baskets.

Although the Britain in Bloom criteria include horticultural elements the rules also place as much emphasis on ‘community’ and ‘environment’.

We have to demonstrate how we cover these elements both on judging day as well as in a comprehensive portfolio we have to submit a few weeks before the judges arrive. 

Under ‘community’ we showed how we involve all ages and sectors from pre-school to retirement homes, through to businesses, visitors and residents.   And the environment category isn’t just about birds, bees and bugs.  Some of our members look after or create miles of footpaths for the public to enjoy woodland and open space.  That sort of thing also comes under environment.

We also have to show our ‘Year Round’ Involvement.  We’ve got that in spade loads. The diary runs from June last year to December this year because we have to show we are forward planning too.  I keep this diary going all year and it is amazing to see how much goes on across Team Harrogate.

Final few weeks to judging day on 1 August.

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