Nottingham has won its 22nd Gold award in the East Midlands in Bloom competition – along with a special regional award for cleanliness of the city centre.

At the awards ceremony at Rutland Water Golf Club near Oakham today:

• Nottingham was presented with Gold in the Large City category.
• Nottingham BID gained a Silver Gilt award in the Business Improvement District category, illustrating the involvement of businesses in making the city centre an attractive place to visit and shop. The BID also picked up the East Midlands in Bloom award for the Least Littered Environment – a tribute to the cleanliness of the city centre.
• Lark Hill retirement village at Clifton gained a Silver Gilt award in the Village category.

In the School Grounds competition, Oak Field School received the award for Best School Wildlife Garden, with a Gold award.

Councillor Malcolm Wood, Chair of the Nottingham in Bloom Working Group, said: “Another wonderful bunch of Bloom results demonstrates how so many people and organisations are enthusiastically involved with improving Nottingham’s environment.

“The Gold award is a tribute to the professionalism of City Council staff and to excellent collaboration with our partners, including the private sector, the two universities and the community. Together we work successfully to encourage clean, green and floral surroundings, which have a long-lasting effect on morale and boost community spirit and pride in the city. Congratulations and thanks to everyone involved.”

The competition assesses three criteria: Horticultural Excellence, Environmental Responsibility and Community Participation.

Judges Richard Stephen and Richard Welburn, who assessed Nottingham in the Large City category, had a four-hour tour of the city in July. They noted that ‘Nottingham is lucky to have so much open space to develop a wide range of diverse environments’ including the wildflower areas and water features on the University of Nottingham campus, interesting hedgerows on St Ann’s Allotments, and both formal and informal open spaces. They also appreciated the city’s strong heritage links.

The Judges’ Award went to the beehives at the Corner House – an ‘extraordinary High Rise urban bee keeping project’ run by staff member Katharine Fisher and well-supported by Alison Knox from the Nottinghamshire Bee Keepers’ Association.

Praise was also given to many other aspects of the city including:

• High-quality planting displays including baskets, troughs, flower towers, beautiful roundabouts and open spaces.
• The Arboretum and the Castle grounds – ‘a real treat for visitors’ – with a special mention for the ‘well designed and planted’ celebratory carpet beds at the Castle.
• Successful new plantings outside Nottingham Trent University and on the University of Nottingham campus.
• St Ann’s Allotments – ‘an amazing historical facility’ and ‘a real gem within Nottingham’s armoury.’ The exhibition garden was ‘superb, and a credit to the volunteers who now look after it.’
• The strong influence and enthusiasm of the Creative Quarter Articulture project in Hockley, including Ice Nine’s vegetable cart, the banners and unusual planted containers.
• Recycling and street cleaning, which go from strength to strength.
• Business sponsors, including Hollies Day Nurseries, for their ‘strong and enthusiastic involvement in all things Blooming’ and the excellent support from the Orchard Hotel on the University of Nottingham campus.
• The business community, who came out in force – with a particular mention for displays at the Cross Keys public house and Sharpe Young and Pearce in Byard Lane.

Pupils at Nottingham schools were also successful in the East Midlands in Bloom art and photography competitions, with four first-prize winners: Hannah Colton from Farnborough Academy; Isobel Morgan from Our Lady’s Academy, and Charlie Moran and Mollie-Mae Hallam from the Glapton Academy.