The Borough of Richmond upon Thames and the City of London both picked up gold medals at the RHS Britain in Bloom UK Awards over the weekend.
Richmond's medal was enhanced by topping the City category (areas with a population of 100,000 to 200,000). Of course, the borough's natural assets mean it has a head start on other parts of London, benefitting from a substantial riverside presence, glorious Richmond Park and an affluence of west London leafiness, but it won praise for its innovative approach to planting (e.g. wildflower meadows in parks) and green space management, its Gardens Festival and its investment in an ambitious Parks Improvement Programme. Richmond also bagged the sustainable landscaping award for the transformation of the old open-air swimming pool on Twickenham Riverside into Diamond Jubilee Gardens.
A judge said that the City of London should be proud of its ability to "protect and enhance many valuable spaces at the same time as maintaining a highly built up street scene." Its Gold medal, again in the City category, reflects the year-round efforts of City in Bloom to urge residents and businesses to use window boxes, planters and urban gardens visible from the street to make the City colourful and green. With this year's In Bloom theme edible Britain, it definitely helped that the City finds space for community growing, like at Golden Lane Allotments.
London's second largest borough, Hillingdon, was a Silver medal winner in the Large City category (population over 200,000). Hillingdon has over 200 parks and open green spaces with 24 Green Flag sites. Judges praised its emphasis on nature conservation and volunteer involvement. A look at Hillingdon in Bloom's categories for local people show the range of activity being rewarded in the borough, from window boxes to communal gardens, best hanging basket to best novelty front garden. Not familiar with the area? Watch this video.
Finally, Team London Bridge put its patch forward in the Urban Community category (up to 25,000 population) and was awarded a Silver Gilt medal (that's like silver and a half). On the edibles theme, Melior Street community garden, which is tended by St Mungo's Putting Down Roots project, is so successful it passes on produce to local pubs and hospitals but the flourishing Gibbons Rent, a garden along an alleyway, and the new Fair Street Vertical Rain Garden were also praised.