There are five main sections to the judging criteria for Heart of England in Bloom covering the following elements:-
Section A: Floral Displays
Floral displays are an important element of the Heart of England in Bloom campaign, but must be proportionate to the areas of sustainable planting and permanent landscaping within the entry. Floral displays may be present in a number of locations and judges will wish to see evidence of community involvement.
Typically, displays will be located in:-
Publicly owned areas, including parks, publicly owned buildings, roadside areas and roundabouts
Housing and residential areas, residential homes, hostels etc
Shopping areas, business areas, commercial premises, public houses, hotels, garages
Transport terminals, regional centres, trust-owned property, feature buildings.
The judges will take account of:-
Sustainability - Proportion of sustainable planting v bedding plants and timing of displays.
Choice of plants - Appropriate in terms of type, flowering period and habitat and variation.
Colours - Is there a scheme or theme appropriate to location.
Containers - Aesthetically pleasing, with planting well related to its location, season, size and water retention
Volume - Assessment of too many/too few plants to enhance the area.
Maintenance - Watering, dead heading and weeding is important.
Quality of plants - Good quality plants with no obvious signs of pests and diseases or deficiencies.
Special features - Sometimes provided as a focal point, and may include structures or an intensive area of bedding.
Cultivation and Maintenance - Floral displays created in an appropriate setting.
Litter - Throughout the entry there should be no litter.
Unoccupied property - If these are eyesores disguise by floral displays or screen.
Section B: Permanent Planting & Landscaping
The judges will wish to see permanent planting. In addition to the areas mentioned under ’Floral Displays’, landscaped areas could include:-
Woodland, copse, shelterbelts
Business parks, industrial estates
Screen planting, open space areas, planting near factories, eyesores etc.
Amenity planting near residential areas, car parks, shopping areas
The judges will take account of:-
New planting - How much new planting has been undertaken on an annual basis. Is there a longer term plan for the whole area or district etc.?
Choice of plants - Appropriate varieties of both newly planted and recently (up to 5 years) planted areas (including mixes of trees, shrubs and herbaceous planting). [[Planting could be for foliage effect, bark effect etc. [[Planting may be for a specific – e.g. conservation, purpose or to provide flowering or other effects for a defined period.
Maintenance - May include irrigation considerations, weeding, thinning, trimming or pruning as appropriate.
Overgrown or unmanaged sites - Is there a planned action for overgrown or unmanaged sites?
Unmanaged sites - Co-ordination and liaison with appropriate landowners.
Associated Issues - May include bulb planting, ground cover, grass areas or bedding planting
Section C: Environmental Issues
The Heart of England in Bloom objectives represent environmental standards designed to improve the areas where we live, work and spend our leisure time. Looking after our environment has become a key expectation as most of us are encouraged to recycle and use environmentally friendly products.
The judges will be looking for schemes which are working towards providing environmental enhancements and which might include:-
Establishing nature conservation and wildlife areas.
Cleaning up polluted sites
Active policies to reduce the demand placed on naturally occurring resources – e.g. source of water used for plants, use of peat, use of hardwood timber etc.
Maintaining and preserving natural habitat.
Minimal use of pesticides and nitrate fertilisers.
The judges will mark conservation and areas of natural habitat more highly if there is also and element of education to explain the activity underway for example: - interpretation material or signage at appropriate/relevant points.
Section D: Cleanliness & Presentation
Remeber that the effects of litter and graffiti can spoil areas which have been landscaped to perfection. Also, the co-ordination of the presentation will be important to the overall effect of the entry and can be ruined by: -
Untidy or inappropriate litter bins
Untidy or inappropriate street furniture
Judges will down point entries where there is litter, graffiti, dog fouling, vandalism or fly-posting and consideration will be given to weeds occurring on pavements or gutters where felt to be appropriate.
Entries in Heart of England in Bloom should provide a co-ordinated approach where all environmental issues are resolved in harmony with each other. [[This might extend to the appropriate treatment of screening derelict property or other eyesores. The objective is to produce an overall pleasing effect – i.e. an attractive and clean landscape presented within the framework of a pleasing environment.
Section E: Public Relations – The media
Heart of England in Bloom is a proactive campaign of communities creating long term improvements to their local environment. [[Regular press releases and progress reports of Heart of England in Bloom activity will maintain public interest and hopefully build support for the campaign, both in financial and practical terms.
The judges will be happy to meet the press and will provide supportive comments concerning the entry. [[They will not indicate whether the entry is better or worse than any others they have judged.
The profiling of the campaign is important. [[Press cuttings should be retained for portfolios and Heart if England in Bloom activities should be publicised through flyers, poster sites, notice boards, etc. Community effort should be prevalent throughout. [[Public support will oil the wheels of fundraising efforts!
For more information contact Jenny Redfern