Flower of Scotland?

100811 burgh beautiful judges at annet house
100811 burgh beautiful judges at annet house

FLOWER power is making history in Linlithgow after it was announced the town is a finalist in the nationwide RHS Britain in Bloom 2012 competition for the first time.

Linlithgow has been selected from over 1000 entries to be one of 73 finalists vying for the title in the ‘‘Town’’ category and a prestigious gold medal.

The news follows nationwide success in September when Linlithgow was named the best looking town in the country at the Beautiful Scotland awards, after huge efforts by local voluntary group Burgh Beautiful.

Chairman Ron Smith said: “We’re delighted that, further to last year’s success in winning the top Scottish prize, Linlithgow has been invited to represent Scotland in the ‘town’ category of the Britain in Bloom UK finals.

“The likely publicity will put us in the UK national spotlight, hopefully attracting more visitors and tourists.

‘‘It’s a great opportunity and I’m sure that the Burgh Beautiful campaign and the townspeople will rise to the challenge over the coming year.

‘’Now’s the time for everybody to think about adding that extra floral touch to buildings and gardens to wow the judges when they visit Linlithgow this summer!”

RHS Britain in Bloom is the nation’s largest environmental campaign involving more than 200,000 volunteers.

Last year, the RHS released a report showing how community gardening reduces crime and encourages social cohesion.

Eileen Murray lives opposite the Water Yett and is one of the volunteers who creates floral displays around the town, including the Vennel and the health centre.

She said: “It’s about improving the area - local people really like it and tourists always make comments. It encourages civic pride in the town and it’s something we enjoy doing.

“I was inspired by a holiday that I took in Rome a few years ago,and people also make a lot of suggestions.

‘‘What we create is for everybody as these are shared public spaces.”

A special display for Valentine’s Day has been created at the Water Yett along with a ‘‘‘petrified forest’’ at the lochside.

Sue Biggs, RHS director general, said: “RHS Britain in Bloom would not be the amazing success it is without the enormous number of volunteers who are committed to greening up their corner of the nation – dynamic people, all wanting to make the UK a better place to live.

‘‘The positive impact this has on the environment is enormous and I wish Linlithgow the very best of luck.”

RHS Britain in Bloom was started in 1964 by the British Tourist Authority to market the nation through floral displays, and is now a campaign that brings communities together to enhance the look and pride of an area through gardening and environmental projects.

The campaign runs all year round with a judging panel touring in July, awarding points on three key criteria - horticultural achievement, community participation, environmental responsibility.

In the ‘‘Town’’ category, Linlithgow is competing against Newquay, Halstead, Windermere, Nantwich and Morpeth.

The 2012 RHS Britain in Bloom results will be announced in October at a special awards ceremony in St Peter Port, Guernsey.