JUDGES from Heart of England in Bloom have been treated to a tour of the town.
The judges visited Rugby on Wednesday July 12 and toured some of the town’s horticultural highlights, including Caldecott Park, the Great Central Walk nature reserve and Whitehall Recreation Ground.
And with the bicentenary of the birth of rugby football inspiring the borough’s Bloom entry, the tour also included a visit to Rugby School and the William Webb Ellis statue – where the floral tribute to the famous Webb Ellis Cup has been decorated in the colours of the French flag to celebrate this year’s Rugby World Cup, which kicks off in France in September.
Volunteers from Rugby Wildlife Group, Warwickshire Butterfly Conservation and Newton and Biggin Parish Council met the judges at the Five Arches stretch of the Great Central Walk to explain how conversation work has created a diverse range of habitats where wildlife, flora and fauna can thrive.
The tour also visited the refurbished bandstand in Whitehall Recreation Ground and the rec’s new pathways, which link to Rugby Borough Council’s Park Connector Network of ‘green’ travel corridors.
The judges also learned about the council’s work with partners to boost biodiversity in the borough, including the creation of ‘pollinator-friendly’ wildflower and grassland urban meadows, and its ongoing partnership with Warwickshire Wildlife Trust to protect and enhance habitats at Swift Valley Park, Cock Robin Wood, Ashlawn Cutting and Newbold Quarry Nature Reserve.
The tour ended with a visit to Brownsover Community School, where pupils have created garden displays celebrating the bicentenary of rugby football, herb and ‘alphabet’ gardens, and a ‘bug house’ home for insects.
Heart of England in Bloom, part of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Britain in Bloom campaign, encourages communities to transform the environment through gardening.
Tom Kittendorf, the council’s chief officer for leisure and wellbeing, said: “Heart of England in Bloom and the council’s own Rugby in Bloom brings our community together every year to help make the borough blossom during the summer months.
“It’s a real team effort and a tribute to the hard work and dedication of a number of council teams, schools, sponsors, volunteers, businesses and community organisations.”
Rugby has won gold at the Heart of England in Bloom Awards for 14 years in a row.
This year’s award ceremony takes place at Sutton Coldfield’s Harvest Fields Centre in October.