JUDGES from Britain in Bloom visited Reading last week (July 31) to take in all the floral delights and judge the area for the national competition.

Run by the Royal Horticultural Society, the competition allows groups to compete and use gardening to transform their communities.

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This year, 70 villages, towns and cities entered with Reading competing in the city category.

The visit saw judges being given a tour of Reading covering areas such as schools, community gardens, commercial properties, cemeteries and business parks.

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Judges visited a range of areas including Caversham Court, Reading Cemetery, Guerrilla Gardens, the Oracle, Forbury Gardens, the Abbey Ruins and the Ridgeline Trust Community Project.

They also took in the sights of Green Park Business Park as they toured around on golf buggies.

Marc Allridge, chairman of Reading in Bloom, explained how the town won a silver gilt last year for Britain in Bloom and revealed he would be “elated” if they secured gold, this year.

He explained: “You never know, there’s so many different categories, there’s so much criteria they have to judge on.”

He revealed just how tough the judging is, explaining you can instantly lose marks for dead hanging baskets.

He said: “That’s how tough it is.

“You have to be absolutely on point with all of it.

“A little bit of feedback we have had this year is the judges are being a lot more community based which obviously Reading is fantastic at.

“We have so many community gardens, so many community projects that you can show them.”

Reading will find out its fate in October, but hopes are high for a gold award.

Meanwhile judging took place recently for the regional competition Reading in Bloom.

This year there were two new categories – Front Container Garden, the most florally attractive garden with all planting in containers. And for businesses is the Staff Well-being Garden, the best garden provided by an employer for the enjoyment of the workforce.

Mr Allridge said: “Most of the entries were up this year and the two new categories proved very popular.

“Judging, as always, was hard but we think we’ve found some really worthy winners.”

The awards ceremony will be held in September.