ready to bloom nationally

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LEYTHERS are being encouraged to show off their gardening prowess as the borough gears up for In Bloom.

Having won gold at the North West In Bloom competition last year, Wigan is now preparing for its first-ever entry into the national competition, organised by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).

The borough will represent the North West region and compete against five other cities in the Large City and Metropolitan Area category, and organisers hope everyone will discover their green fingers to help impress the judges.

The bid for horticultural glory is also being backed by the Leigh Reporter.

Wigan will go under the national experts’ microscope on August 6, when the panel of RHS judges will tour the borough for four hours to see the work being done to make Wigan look its best.

They will also be able to view videos submitted by community groups to show them what is happening in every nook and corner of the town, and will have files outlining green projects being undertaken submitted to them.

Before that, however, there will be the small matter of the North West In Bloom judges’ visit on July 25, when the organisers, led by In Bloom co-ordinator Damian Jenkinson, who was runner up in the BBC3 Young Gardener of the Year contest, hope to retain the top mark they scored last year.

In Bloom is about much more than planting up town centres and perfect blooms, with the judges marking entrants’ efforts on everything from community engagement to developing environmental and conservation policies.

Green spaces owned by businesses and private gardens will also be marked.

Damian said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to show off everything that is happening in Wigan on a national stage, and also to change the image of the town and confound some of the perceptions of the town.

“We are very keen to showcase community engagement, which was one of our strongest areas last year and something where other authorities are looking to Wigan as an example of national best practice.”