Abington Park launch of Northampton in Bloom 2014 competition

Nearly 50 people gathered to mark the launch of the Northampton regional heat of the UK Britain in Bloom competition.

The event at Abington Park last week saw the mayor of Northampton, councillors and BBC Radio’s Johnnie Amos plant a special rose to launch the annual contest.

Applications are open until June 30 for local businesses, groups and individuals to submit their own floral displays within this year’s theme of ‘Remembrance and Celebration’, commemorating the centenary of World War One.

Also present were groups who prepared the park for the ocassion, including Choices gardening group and the Friends of Abington Park who donated a £500 memorial rose pyramid, as well as groups donating equipment.

Northampton Bloom Planning Committee chair, Cllr Mike Hallam, introduced the launch and said: “Without question, bloom brings communities together and everyone involved does a great job.

“There is no better place to celebrate Northampton’s gardeners than Abington Park, the jewel in our town crown.”

BBC Radio Northampton gardening expert, Johnnie Amos, who will talk more about In Bloom on his show this Sunday, said: “I have been thrilled and honoured to be involved with the volunteers each year and if, last year’s launch at Delapre Abbey was anything to go by, this year’s comeptition will be great.”

The category winners will be judged in July before representing Northampton in the UK final.

Janet Winn, gardener at St Peter and St Paul’s Church in Abington said: “I will be doing a red and gold display in the church’s garden in an aim to restore our neglected areas, especially childrens’ graves.

Neil Bartholomey, deputy chair of Northampton Town Centre Ltd. who have contributed hanging poppy baskets around the town centre, said: “Projects like this put pride back into Northampton and create a place for locals and visitors to enjoy.”