Bury St Edmunds: In Bloom groups backs bid for pollinating plants

Hamish Miller and Isabelle Tee from St Edmundsbury Primary School with their sunflowers at the launc

Hamish Miller and Isabelle Tee from St Edmundsbury Primary School with their sunflowers at the launch of Bury In Bloom's 2014 campaign - Credit: Archant

Half a century has passed since the country’s leading gardening charity launched its ‘Britain in Bloom’ challenge to inspire horticulturists to fill their towns with brightly coloured floral displays.

But during the 50 years since the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) started the competition, it has noted declines in many groups of native insects such as butterflies, bees and moths, which rely on flowers for nectar and pollen.

So as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations, the society is encouraging green fingered Suffolk folk to get their gardening gloves on and set pollinating plants.

In the west of the county, Bury in Bloom has thrown its weight behind the initiative as it launches its own bid for success in the 2014 challenge.

More than 1,000 communities around the UK now enter and take part in their local region’s “in Bloom” campaign.

This week, representatives from Bury in Bloom, school students, neighbourhood groups and Abbey Garden staff gathered to mark the beginning of this year’s road to horticultural glory and to show their support for the push for pollinating plants.

Aside from the obvious benefit to declining insect populations, it has been estimated that the value of insect-pollinated fruit and vegetables grown in the UK is more than £400million a year.

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Bury In Bloom, which is now in its 28th year, is encouraging people to grow pollinators in shades of yellow to mark the golden anniversary of the challenge.

Melanie Lesser, the group’s co-ordinator, said: “We thought it would be great to get people to plant sunflowers, which are a beautiful golden yellow to celebrate the anniversary and are a great source of food for insects. They are bright and cheerful and will help generate interest in planting.

“We are very lucky to have such enthusiastic young gardeners in the town who are sure to carry on the In Bloom tradition. In fact last year due to the high standard of entries, we presented our Young Green Fingers award jointly to two schools – Howard Middle and St Edmundsbury Primary School.”

As part of the celebrations, the RHS is seeking old ‘In Bloom’ pictures from previous campaigns. Anyone who has suitable photographs is asked to email melanie@buryinbloom.org.uk

For a list of pollinating plants, go to www.rhs.org.uk/Gardening/Sustainable-gardening/Plants-for-pollinators