Radstock in Bloom entered this year’s competition on the back of winning the Ayre Cup in 2022. This meant that for the first time in eight years Radstock was entered into the Champion of Champions Class, competing against the best in the Southwest.

Sean, part of the brilliant Radstock in Bloom team, told The Journal: “This year we commemorate 50 years since the last working mine closed and our floral displays represented our coal mining heritage alongside a striking miners bust created for In Bloom.

“Our RHS Judge Martin Hambrige started the tour in our fantastic Radstock Museum where he was shown some old footage of life in Radstock in 1969, recorded by Andrew Linham, this depicted the Railways, Mining, and the old road layout alongside life in Radstock in that era.

“Martin was greeted by the children of Trinity School upon leaving the museum to a rendition of “I Like the Flowers” before enjoying our landmark Wheel and Memorial Gardens with its perennial and prairie style planting alongside Wellow Brook.

“The first stop was the wonderful Writhlington School’s Orchid Project, where Martin was impressed with knowledge and plant biology of the students. This is always the trickiest part of the tour as its very hard to get the RHS judges out of the Writhlington School’s Orchid Project.

“Upon leaving the Orchid Project, we headed to Writhlington allotments. An excellent example of Allotments and working with nature, Martin really enjoyed his time in this space and again was really impressed with the work Lucy and the allotment holders do. The polytunnel with its use of recycled materials and inclusive space for children was a real highlight of these fantastic Allotments.

“From there, we headed down the hill and a quick drive through Fortescue Road showing off our Traders support.

This Year our Traders Sponsored sixty one hanging baskets around Town. Red and yellow Begonias and the Long Trailing Nepeta represented the flag of the Miners Union. The Begonia “Glowing Embers” represented the coal and the black petunias alongside white trailing Ivy Geraniums, and the Foliage Geraniums “Mrs Pollock” with their red flowers represented the coal spoil heaps, which now are such biodiverse spaces. Setting the tone for our next, stop Haydon.

“Haydon has a lovely Community Garden which is managed by one of our volunteers Angus, who also has help from the residents of Haydon, this space is a delight to behold if you can find it. With its Small woodland, beautiful planted raised beds, bird boxes and green space. Martin said it was a very special place and understood why it was on the tour.

Haydon Batch was the next stop showing off how an old coal tip can be transformed by nature overtime. Somer valley Rediscovered gave Martin a tour across the top of the batch showing him findings from earlier events from the year and talking about how alongside our neighbours Westfield Haydon Batch and Waterside valley create a green corridor for our rich biodiverse town.

From here we dropped back into Radstock to meet the Bloomers Showcasing the Brian Perrett Memorial and Signal Bed, with its vast array of perennial plants lovingly care for by Pam and Jo. Martin thought this was an excellent example of plants and heritage working side by side. Next was the fantastic Church Street Flower bed tended by Jean who unfortunally was on holiday, this gave us chance to showcase the fabulous work not only of Jean but our wonderful Radstock Knitters. Jenny met Martin and they talked about Jack the knitted miner and the knitted coal truck as well as the other yarn bombing this dedicated group do for Radstock Whilst admiring this marvellous Border. Lunch Follow and the amazing Swallows Café they put on a fantastic buffet style lunch which the judge and representatives from the tour enjoyed and after lunch, Martin judged Swallows for an In Your Neighbourhood Award.

Radstock in Bloom are delighted with this year’s result. We would like to thank everyone for their support and are starting to plan for 2024 where we will compete against our neighbours Westfield for the Ayre Cup and hopefully sustain our Gold Status.