Belfast Telegraph

Everything's coming up roses for Ulster in Bloom winners

By Cate McCurry

The top horticultural resident groups in Northern Ireland have been unveiled in the Translink Ulster in Bloom competition.

And now, following months of designing and creating floral displays while donning hi-vis vests, the best 'blooming' green-fingered locations across the country are revealed.

The annual competition recognises horticultural beauty and gardening talent in Northern Ireland's cities, towns and villages.

This year's competition - now in its 39th year - attracted 160 entries and included all 11 councils.

For the second year running, Belfast was pipped at the post by Londonderry for the largest category award for best city.

The large town award went to Ballymena, while Coleraine scooped the top town accolade.

Elsewhere, Randalstown won small town, while the large village award went to Hillsborough, and village was given to multi-award winning Castlecaulfield.

The small village award was given to Charlestown Village.

The most improved title went to Gortin, while the roses in towns winner is Ballymena.

Special Award winners include Carrickfergus and Castlecaulfield for their support to biodiversity, along with Belleek Pottery in Co Fermanagh, O'Kane's Bar in Randalstown, The Dirty Onion Bar & Restaurant in Belfast and Cove Bay Housing Development in Groomsport for outstanding plant and floral presentations.

Bob McClure from Castlecaulfield Horticultural Society scooped the Ulsterbus Tours Community Champion award for the positive difference he has made to his local area.

The best station title was won by Great Victoria Street Railway Station and the community rail halt award went to Whitehead Railway Station.

Northern Ireland has also now secured eight entries for the National RHS Britain in Bloom Competition 2017.

Translink chairman Frank Hewitt said: "It's been a highly competitive year with such an impressive standard of entries and we've seen a number of new locations reach the top spots.

"We'd like to thank all the local councils, businesses and community groups who invest their time, effort and expertise to make their area a more attractive place to live and visit," he added.

Alderman Freda Donnelly, vice president of the Northern Ireland local Government Association expressed the association's "admiration, encouragement and congratulations" to everyone who took part.

Belfast Telegraph

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