After a glorious summer, the Harrogate district is celebrating success following the 2016 Yorkshire In Bloom awards ceremony on Tuesday night.
More than 350 guests packed into York racecourse to watch the annual awards ceremony unfold and honour the volunteers keeping Yorkshire looking good.
Over the summer, around 50 volunteer judges have been visiting and judging the groups in contention for the awards with the winners announced at the racecourse.
The aim of the competition is to encourage communities to “make positive and lasting improvements to their local environment”.
‘In Bloom’ groups are judged on their colourful bedding plants and hanging baskets as well as environmental issues including recycling, composting, water harvesting, sustainable planting, litter, wildlife habitat and working in the community.
Once again, the Harrogate district produced a series of fantastic results with Kirkby Malzeard attaining gold and winning the Village category with Spofforth also achieving gold.
Bramham scooped a gold in the Large Village category, which was eventually won by Hutton Cranswick, with Boroughbridge and Scholes picking up a silver gilt.
Starbeck improved on their silver gilt in the Spring Award to win a gold this summer in the Urban Category community.
In the Public and Private Charitable Establishments, the Harrogate district shined once again with four organisations picking up awards.
Harrogate Horticap and Nidderdale Children’s Resource Centre in Harrogate picked up a silver gilt award with Knaresborough House picking up gold.
However, it was Wetherby Manor Care Home that was the category winner and presented with a gold award, to the delight of manager Judith Scurr.
She said: “We’re absolutely over the moon to win three awards. It’s a great reward for all the dedicated hard work that goes into the gardens throughout the year.
“With carefully thought out seasonal planting there is always something for our residents, their families, friends and staff to enjoy.
“The Yorkshire in Bloom judges always suggest ways the gardens might be improved, and we were bowled over when they said they couldn’t find any areas for us to improve at all! Everyone is thrilled.”
The Winter Gardens in Harrogate was one of just six pubs and restaurants in Yorkshire to be nominated for the category, eventually picking up a silver gilt.
Nidd Hall Hotel had an evening to remember as it picked up gold and won the category of Large Hotels, beating competition in York, Wakefield and Barnsley.
Ripon Racecourse claimed a silver gilt in the Visitor Attractions category while Knaresborough Castle went one better and was just one of five establishments to win gold.
Bettys & Taylors of Harrogate emerged victorious in the Large Business Premises category, winning the category and picking up gold in the process as Newby Hall and Gardens claimed gold in the Country Houses, Estates and Parks and Gardens category.
One Yorkshire in Bloom category which has seen significant growth over the past two years is ‘Open spaces’ which has seen a 100 per cent increase in 2016.
The category is open to ‘Friends’ groups and volunteer organisations that help to maintain public and open spaces, both large and small.
Entries in this category are involved with maintaining or developing areas with an existing large park, a pocket park, cemetery, wildlife area or any open space that the public can enjoy.
With local government cuts, volunteer ‘Friends’ groups now play an important role in helping to maintain and protect public open spaces with their hard work and dedication rewarded.
Friends of Sandringham Park in Wetherby and The Pinewoods in Harrogate both picked up a gold award in the category.
Kazia Knight, chairwoman at Friends of Sandringham Park said: “We were thrilled to bits to win the award. Over the last six years we have gradually improved the awards we’ve won.
“It’s very hard work because it’s a year round job. We always have more longer terms plans and we want to put in some sensory equipment on the flower beds and put some more dementia friendly equipment in.”
Peat Garden, Old Magnesia Well Pump Room in Harrogate claimed one of only five platinum awards and Friends of Valley Gardens chair Jayne Blayney said she was delighted with the result.
She said: “The volunteers have put in a lot of work and we have had excellent support from the gardening team. It’s a fantastic team effort.
“Liz Chidlow organises the gardening team volunteers and does a fantastic job. We have now put in an application to the Lottery Fund for £97k to restore the Japanese Gardens.”
Woodlands Community Garden and Ripon Workhouse Garden both picked up outstanding awards in the RHS It’s Your Neighbourhood award.
James Etherington, museums director at Ripon Workhouse Garden said: “We are absolutely delighted to win the outstanding award.
“The garden is looked after by volunteers and led by our groundsman Nick. He does a lot of work through the week to keep it looking amazing. It’s a labour of love.
“We are hoping to be able to raise some money for a greenhouse and potting shed. I’m not sure how we are going to celebrate but I’m sure there will be a lot of tea and biscuits involved as there usually is.”
Moorside Infant School in Ripon picked up a gold award in the Harrogate Flower Show Young Peoples Award with Harrogate Ladies College clinching a silver gilt in Universities, Colleges and Further Education Establishments category.