GREEN-fingered enthusiasts across the area are under starters orders for this year’s South and South East In Bloom competition.
The popular scheme was launched at Fontwell Park Racecourse by sponsors Southern Water, which has been involved with In Bloom for ten years, celebrity gardener Chris Collins and the chairman of South and South East In Bloom, Peter Holman.
Already there have been more than 220 entries to the competition, including 84 schools, with many entries expected from businesses and other community organisations across Bognor Regis, Chichester and Midhurst.
All the winners will be announced at a special prizegiving ceremony being held at Fontwell in September. Awards will be presented by Chris Collins,
South and South East in Bloom chairman Peter Holman said there was a change in the kind of entries it was receiving, with a drop in the number of entries from councils as a result of cutbacks.
“Fortunately, however, we are seeing a rise in the number of smaller communities getting together to improve their environment,” said Mr Holman.
Schools will be judged between June 8 and June 22 while the rest of the judging will take place between July 4 and 15.
At the launch Fontwell’s own efforts did not go unnoticed; its main enclosure features a topiary statue which commemorates the 1949 triumph at the racecourse of Monaveen, the first and only racecourse owned jointly by the Queen and the Queen Mother.
Fontwell’s general manager Phil Bell said: “We have always prided ourselves on the upkeep of our own displays so we look forward to welcoming some discerning gardening communities when they come to celebrate in September.”