EVERYTHING’S coming up roses after Sunderland was selected from more than 1,000 entries for the finals of Britain in Bloom.
The city is one of just 73 finalists in the 2012 Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) event.
Council chiefs have their fingers crossed they can emulate the success of 2010, when Sunderland scooped the title of best large city for the fourth time and was presented with a Silver Gilt Award.
Ranging from small rural villages to major industrial cities, every finalist in this year’s competition is aiming for a gold medal, and the coveted title of category winner. Sunderland will go up against Leeds, Hillingdon, Birmingham and Wigan in the large city category.
Britain in Bloom is the nation’s largest environmental campaign and involves more than 200,000 volunteers.
RHS director general Sue Biggs said: “RHS Britain in Bloom would be nothing without the enormous number of volunteers who are committed to greening up their corner of the nation – dynamic people, all wanting to make the UK a better place to live.
“Together they plant more than 115,000 trees, 352,000 shrubs and 21.6 million plants and bulbs annually. The positive impact this has on the environment is enormous.
“It is an absolute honour for the RHS to be associated with these groups and individuals and I wish Sunderland the very best of luck.”
Started in 1964 by the British Tourist Authority, as a way of marketing the nation through floral displays, RHS Britain in Bloom brings communities together to enhance the look, feel and pride of a place, through gardening and environmental projects.
Although the campaign runs all year round, the judging panel will tour in July, awarding points against three key criteria – horticultural achievement, community participation, environmental responsibility.
The 2012 RHS Britain in Bloom results will be announced in October.