Blooming ready for RHS judges

William Dixon and Patsy Smith are among Council staff who have been working to ensure Ballymena is blooming.
William Dixon and Patsy Smith are among Council staff who have been working to ensure Ballymena is blooming.

Ballymena is looking blooming beautiful as the town prepares to welcome RHS judges as part of the Britain in Bloom campaign.

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council staff and community volunteers have been working hard to ensure Ballymena is ready for their arrival on August 10.

The nationwide competition pits rural villages, urban corners and city centres against each other in a range of criteria. They then battle it out for the top spot in horticultural know-how, community engagement, efforts to bolster biodiversity and climate change adaptation.

For the second consecutive year, Ballymena will compete alongside 75 other entrants from across the UK.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough, Councillor Lindsay Millar, said: “Council Parks and Open Spaces staff have been tending blooms from seed all year, which have now all been planted out in striking displays around the town centre. I hope Ballymena residents have also noticed the array of urban wildflower meadows planted by staff, which are attractive for residents and visitors, and also great for wildlife.

“Staff have also been working with community volunteers on initiatives such as community plant outs, clean ups and wildflower seed sowing. And we are delighted local businesses, including Wrightbus and Wilsons of Rathkenny, have come on board to support our Britain in Bloom bid. I am thrilled that everyone is pulling together and the town is now awash with colour.

“We are looking forward to welcoming the RHS Britain in Bloom judges in August who will tour Ballymena, taking in sites such as Ecos Nature Park, The People’s Park, Harmony Hub, and Church Street Three car park. I have no doubt they will be thoroughly impressed.”

The winners of each category, ranging from gold to bronze, will be announced at an awards ceremony in Belfast on October 19.

All residents in Ballymena can still do their bit to help out by filling a hanging basket and keeping their garden and local area tidy.