FORRES will represent Scotland at Britain in Bloom 2017, competing to be
crowned one of the cleanest, greenest and most beautiful places in the UK.
The town’s floral displays, created and managed by Forres in Bloom (FiB), have qualified for the Town category of the event, having won the Medium Town section of last year’s Beautiful Scotland competition.
Preparations have already started and last month, FiB representatives Diane McGregor, Ian and Sandra Maclennan, went to a training day in Nottingham for Britain In Bloom entrants, where they met judge Sue Wood.
Mrs Maclennan said: “Sue is looking forward to re-visiting Forres as she fondly remembers her previous visit, many years ago.
“It’s a great honour to be invited to represent Scotland at Britain in Bloom 2017, especially as our return to Beautiful Scotland in 2016 after a few years absence resulted in a gold medal and a category win.”
FiB is one of 79 groups competing in the UK finals this year.
Since the closure of the Moray Council’s nursery two years ago, FiB has taken on the task of growing on all bedding from plug plants to supply the town’s floral displays, including the hanging baskets, tubs and the floral sculptures and carpet bedding in Grant Park. FiB’s horticultural base is at Grant Park’s Community Garden, with its own glasshouses, storage, composting facilities and new community building.
FiB is privately funded by members, residents, sponsors and businesses.
Mrs Maclennan said: “Keeping financially sustainable is always a worry but we are fortunate we continue to receive financial support. Our Sunday group now numbers over 20 – it’s been busy tidying the park and other sites ready for planting summer bedding. We meet every week between noon and 4pm and welcome any help followed by refreshments – we like cake.”
The community can do their bit without volunteering by: keeping private premises tidy; removing pavement weeds; picking up litter; binning dog poo bags; letting FiB know of areas needing attention; and supporting FiB’s fundraising events.
Mrs Maclennan added: “A particular difficulty last year was clearing the edges between pavements and roads because there is less frequent street sweeping so soil gathers and is ideal for growing weeds. We spent two weeks scraping pavements before our judging last year.”
Meanwhile FiB are re-starting the children’s Wee FiBees group after the Easter holidays to look after the garden in front of Forres Squash Club.
Mrs Maclennan said: “We are entering Britain in Bloom with high hopes and welcome any support from the people of Forres to keep our town clean and green for residents and visitors alike.
“The efforts will also boost the local economy by raising the town’s profile and encouraging more visits.”
Keep Scotland Beautiful operations director Carole Noble believes Forres, as a clean, green and sustainable community, is a worthy entrant of the UK-wide competition.
She said: “We’d like to wish Forres every success for 2017.”
Judges will tour in August before the winners are announced at the awards ceremony in Llandudno, North Wales on October 27.