This year’s Portsmouth in Bloom is set to be a real community event.
It is the first year the competition has not been organised by the city council.
Southsea Greenhouse is picking up the mantle and hopes its passion for gardening can revitalise the once-blooming event.
‘The council did run it for a number of years. There has been a gradual decline in the number of people, and it has always been the same ones taking part,’ said the greenhouse’s Sue Stokes.
‘There has not been a broad uptake from the community so it was about refreshing that and having some new ideas.
‘That is why they asked if we could make it a community event.
‘Even though the money comes from the sponsors, we are working in co-operation with people.
‘We have been working with them since we started on the project. We went for the community garden nomination ourselves and we got a gold so they obviously approved of the stuff we had been doing.
‘This year we will not be taking part in the competition because we will be managing it and working with the judges.’
After holding an unofficial launch with the competition’s sponsors, which include The News, the group updated the Portsmouth in Bloom website, where individuals, businesses, schools and groups can now nominate themselves for up to two categories.
‘From now until the end of May, nominations are open. If we don’t have a good growing season, we can push that deadline back a bit. We are quite flexible about it depending on the circumstances,’ said Sue.
‘The judging will begin at the end of June and start of July. The short-listing will take place in August and then we will let everyone know about whether they have got through. Then there will be an awards ceremony in September. Hopefully there will be many more people entering compared with previous years.’
Entrants can pick up a form from the greenhouse, the city library, the Civic Offices or enter through the coupon in The News today. They can also go to southseagreenhouse.co.uk and apply there.
‘We want to make sure that people can enter and give as many ways as possible for them to do that,’ added Sue.
This year, new categories have been added to the competition, including two that are aimed at encouraging everyone to grow and produce food.
‘It is about getting more people to grow vegetables and edible plants,’ said Sue.
‘We’re trying to teach and get an understanding that you can benefit from being active in the garden. Doing stuff like this with your neighbours is great for the community.
‘This year we are giving cash prizes for ways to save water. That is something Portsmouth Water is very interested in.
‘If we are being aware of how to save water, it means we spend less on cleaning water and eventually water bills will go down.’
In the months running up to the finals, the garden, along with other organisations, will be putting on workshops and encouraging people to have a go and enter their creations.
For more information, visit southseagreenhouse.co.uk/portsmouth-bloom.
· House frontage
· Front garden
· Mews and courtyards
· Sustainable garden
· Hanging basket or wall container
· Public or community premises
· Business premises
· Gardens in sheltered housing or apartment blocks
· Eat My Street – New
· School decorated with flowers
· School environmental project
· School garden cultivated by children
· Eat My School – New
You may enter a maximum of two categories, unless you represent a school, when you can enter up to three categories.