Horticultural volunteers across Leicester – whose projects and groups have thrived despite the challenges of the pandemic – have won Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) awards for their efforts.
The awards cover a range of local projects that aim to get more people involved in gardening and help their local areas bloom with floral displays and edible crops.
Fourteen independent horticultural projects across the city were recognized with awards, including allotments, floral planters and improvements to community gardens.
Representatives from independent groups across the city visited Abbey Park last week to collect their certificates from the Royal Horticultural Society’s national ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ and ‘Bloom’ schemes.
Two groups – Evington Hilltop Allotment Society and Knighton Green – were awarded the top Level Five ‘Outstanding’ award. This level represents the pinnacle of RHS community participation, environmental responsibility and gardening achievement.
A further five groups won Level Four ‘Thriving’ status; six groups took awards at the Level Three ‘Advancing’ stage, with one group receiving a Level Two ‘Improving’ award.
In addition, the ‘Friends of Evington in Bloom’ (in partnership with Leicester City Council parks team) won a Silver Gilt Award in the regional East Midlands in Bloom scheme. As part of the same submission, they received the Judges’ Award for the Garden of Hope; named when everyone was seeking light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel. This site was previously blighted by fly tipping and has been given an inspirational new lease of life.
A special discretionary award – the East Midlands in Bloom Winners of the Best Spring Bulb Display 2021 – was given to the Evington War Memorial. This site was enhanced to help bees and other pollinators to thrive, particularly early in the season when there are less flowers.
An award was also given to the Cedars Public House for a new permanent landscape while The Beeline, on Goodwood Road, was recognised for its wildlife and conservation value.
Penny Brown, volunteer coordinator in the city council’s parks team, said: “Despite the lockdowns, our fantastic volunteers and community gardening groups have found ways of safely continuing to improve the city and give hope to others in what has been a very challenging time. We are immensely proud of their achievements and of all the parks staff who have supported them.”
Deputy City Mayor Cllr Piara Singh Clair, said: “It iis always encouraging to see so many people getting involved in their local communities, by helping make them look their best with attractive planting or growing food that can be used to help people locally.
“This year, the efforts of our volunteers have made a huge difference to neighborhoods right across the city in extremely challenging times. We are very grateful for their efforts and these awards are very well deserved.”
Information on the Leicester Environmental Volunteers scheme and how you can get involved, is available here www.leicester.gov.uk/parks-volunteering