Sprinkling of awards for NI's horticultural heroes
It might have been a horrendous summer, but some horticultural heroes have lifted spirits across Northern Ireland.
And yesterday our top gardening talent was recognised at the 2015 Translink Ulster in Bloom competition, which encourages cities, towns and villages to look their best using vibrant plant and floral displays.
Derry City won the city category of the prestigious competition, while Omagh was named best large town and Coleraine was best town.
Ahoghill took the honours in the best small town category and Hillsborough was best large village. Castlecaulfield was best village and Charlestown was best small village.
The most improved title went to Ballynahinch and the roses in towns award winner was Antrim. Special award winners were: Oxford Island Nature Reserve, and Island Park, Newcastle, in recognition of efforts to support biodiversity, along with Edenvilla Secret Garden, Portadown; The Old Inn, Crawfordsburn, and Rue bar & restaurant, Main Street, Omagh, for outstanding presentations.
Richard Wallace from Ballynure Village Committee is the winner of the Ulsterbus Tours Community Champion Award in recognition of the lasting and positive difference he has made to his local area by embracing the Ulster in Bloom ethos.
The best station title was won by Great Victoria Street, Belfast, and the community rail halt award went to Whitehead train station.
Now in its 37th year, the competition attracted 163 entries representing local council areas, community groups, businesses, bus and train stations as well as nine community champion nominations.
Speaking as the results were announced at Tullylagan Country House Hotel in Cookstown, Translink’s Bernard Mitchell said: “Congratulations to all the 2015 Translink Ulster in Bloom winners and runners-up. Despite an inclement summer they’ve managed to create exquisite plant and floral arrangements that show impressive horticultural skills.
“Their hard work plays an important role in making Northern Ireland a top visitor destination, creating an excellent first impression on visitors here.”