Human Shrub turns judge

The Human Shrub was back in action yesterday - this time judging his own version of "Colchester in Bloom".

Roddy Ashworth

The Human Shrub was back in action yesterday - this time judging his own version of "Colchester in Bloom".

The camouflaged campaigner was spotted at key locations in the town centre, clip-board in hand, admiring a number of floral displays.

Among the areas he checked were the High Street - where he looked at floral decorations at Mann's music and the George Hotel - and Castle Park, where he praised council displays.

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However, the anonymous guerilla gardener was less complementary about the council's efforts on Balkerene Hill, where a number of verges are overgrown and civic planters empty due to budget cuts at the town hall.

The Human Shrub decided to hold his own version of "Colchester in Bloom" after his entry to the town's formal floral contest was ruled inadmissible.

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His submission, which featured an empty civic plant container he had attempted to revive with some flowers and a small bush, was disqualified because he entered it in the "residential" category.

The Human Shrub first came to public notice in April when he paraded up and down Colchester High Street outside a council meeting protesting against plans to cut down a fifth of the town's rose bushes and road-side shrubberies to save on maintenance costs.

Shortly afterwards, in a major policy U-Turn, the council abandoned the unpopular plans.

He later made headlines across the world after being caught on camera weeding and planting out a neglected civic flower container near to Colchester's Middleborough roundabout.

Two weeks ago he arrived unannounced with some of his followers at a weed-ridden patch of land in Hubert Road and set to work with spades, trowels and forks.

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