Friday, 24 September 2010

Tallest Sunflower Competition Winners Announced

The winner and runners-up of the Carrickfergus in Bloom Tallest Sunflower Competition have been announced today.

The winner: Naomi Kinnon aged 7 from Carrickfergus whose sunflower grew over 3 meters. The runners-up are Sarah, Scott & Thomas Alexander from Carrickfergus & Rebecca Boyd from Carrickfergus.

Stephen Daye, Parks & Countryside Officer explained “Carrickfergus Borough Council distributed in March, two thousand packets of Sunflower seeds to local school children as part of the Carrickfergus in Bloom initiative. After months of tender loving care by the young people it’s great to see the end results. The time and dedication many entrants spend on tending their sunflowers is extraordinary and is a credit too them."

New report shows how school gardening benefits children

Research commissioned by the Royal Horticultural Society shows the enormous impact that gardening plays in a child’s wellbeing, learning and development. The report demonstrates that gardening in schools encourages children to:

• Become stronger, more active learners capable of thinking independently and adapting their skills and knowledge to new challenges at school and in the future
• Gain a more resilient, confident and responsible approach to life so they can achieve their goals and play a positive role in society
• Learn vital jobs skills such as presentation, communication and team work, and develop their entrepreneurial spirit
• Embrace a healthier, more active lifestyle as an important tool for success at school and beyond
• Develop the ability to work and communicate with people from all ages and backgrounds.

The research was carried out by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) and published in June 2010. The NFER surveyed 1,300 school teachers and studied in depth ten schools belonging to the RHS Campaign for School Gardening, ranging from a large urban primary in London to a small village school in Yorkshire.

Read report summary
Read full report

Monday, 20 September 2010

Best Kept Allotment Winners Announced

Carrickfergus Borough Council has announced the winners of the Best Kept Allotment sponsored by Sunnybank Garden Centre.

The winners are:

• Winner: Godfrey Robinson, Carrickfergus.
• Runner-Up: William Robinson, Carrickfergus.
• Runner-Up: Maggi Watson, Greenisland.

What the judges looked for environment sustainability; the variety & quality of the crop; the control of weeds & rubbish; the use of compost; general appearance; creativity of each plot. The prizes are: 1st Prize: £60.00 Gift Voucher plus two Runner-Up Prizes: £35.00 Gift Voucher. The award ceremony will take place at the October Carrickfergus in Bloom Prize Giving lunch.

Stephen Daye, Parks & Countryside Development Officer said “Carrickfergus Borough Council is committed to improving the quality of life for all the people of Borough through the services it provides including our allotment service. We opened are allotment site at Eden two years ago. What started as 36 plots has grown to 189 plots. Eden Allotment Gardens is now the largest allotment site in Ireland and Carrickfergus Borough Council is the top allotment provider in Northern Ireland. I would encourage residents of the Borough to visit Eden Allotment Gardens off Beltoy Road to view what the allotmenteers have achieved in the past year. The quality of the plots did make it difficult to pick our winners but all allotment holders should be proud of their achievements. We would like to thank Sunnybank Garden Centre who kindly sponsored the Best Kept Allotment Competition.”

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Winners Announced for Community Garden Competition

Alderman May Beattie, Chairperson of the Parks, Countryside and Amenities Sub-Committee has announced the Carrickfergus in Bloom Competition Winners and Runners-up this morning for the Borough-wide Best Kept Awards.

Alderman Beattie said “We are delighted to announce the Carrickfergus in Bloom Community Competition Winners and Runners-up. I am thrilled with the response from those taking part and am really excited about the quality and diversity of the entrants. It has been an opportunity for me to see the wealth and variety of horticultural talent in our community. Winners and runners-up will be invited to a prize-giving ceremony at the Town Hall in October to receive their certificates and prizes. At the ceremony we shall announce our plans for Carrickfergus in Bloom in the coming year. I would also like to thank the sponsors for supporting Carrickfergus in Bloom." ended Alderman Beattie

Stephen Daye, Parks & Countryside Development Officer with Carrickfergus Borough Council and one of the judges commented "We where very impressed by the number of high quality entries this year, the time and dedication many entrants spend in their gardens is a credit too them. Deciding on a winner was very difficult for some categories; however all who took part should be proud of their achievements."

Best Kept Garden

Winner: Joan Reid, Carrickfergus.
Runner-Up: John O’Neill, Carrickfergus.
Runner-Up: Chris Hamil, Whitehead.
Runner-Up: Bill Johnston, Carrickfergus.

Best Kept Container Garden

Winner: Annette Keith, Carrickfergus.
Runner-Up: Christopher Betts, Carrickfergus.
Runner-Up: Robert Welch, Eden.
Runner-Up: Ruth Hickey, Carrickfergus.

Best Kept Community Planting Scheme

Winner: Brooklands Drive Residents Association, Whitehead.
Runner-Up: Charles Sheils Charity, Carrickfergus.
Runner-Up: Greenisland Environmental and Heritage Group, Greenisland.
Runner-Up: Carrickfergus Town Centre Display (Carrickfergus Chamber of Commerce)

Best Kept Commercial Premises

Winner: The Gallery, Carrickfergus.
Runner-Up: McMasters Butchers, Whitehead.
Runner-Up: Glam Hair and Beauty Salon, Whitehead.
Runner-Up: Northern Bank Limited, Carrickfergus.

Best Kept Pub or Hotel

Winner: Coffee and Cream, Whitehead.
Runner-Up: Brewers Fayre, Carrickfergus.
Runner-Up: Hillcrest, Carrickfergus.

See Carrickfergus in Bloom competition website.

Results of Translink Ulster in Bloom 2010 Competition

Gardeners responsible for Northern Ireland’s best plant and floral displays celebrated today (Thursday 2nd September 2010) at the results ceremony for the 2010 Translink Ulster in Bloom Competition. The Borough won three awards with Carrickfergus coming second in the large town category. Carrickfergus Station came second in the Best Station Award and the Brighter Whitehead Community came first in the Community Rail Halt Award for their hard work at Whitehead Train Station. Speaking at the results ceremony in the elegant surroundings of Lissanoure Castle, Loughguile, County Antrim, Veronica Palmer, Chairman, Translink, said: “2010 marks the 32nd year of Ulster in Bloom and attracted 130 entries representing local councils, community organisations and businesses as well as 36 bus and train stations. Despite some challenging weather conditions, participants have produced exquisite and clever floral and plant displays capable of transforming areas and delighting both local people and visitors, enhancing social and economic prosperity. It is great to see that many areas have sustained their impressive flair for horticulture and retained their Ulster in Bloom title and it is also encouraging to welcome newcomers into the top spots demonstrating the growing appeal of the competition. I would like to congratulate all our winners and runners-up and I hope their delightful displays will provide inspiration for others to try their hand at gardening.”

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Virtual Flower Show Voting Starts

Voting has started on the Carrickfergus in Bloom Virtual Flower Show. Stephen Daye, Carrickfergus in Bloom Coordinator explained "The Virtual Flower Show is a web based competition that encourages people to submit to the Virtual Flower Show website ( a favourite photograph taken during the last year, which fits one of the classes".

•My Garden
•My Favourite Outdoor Plant
•My Favourite Indoor Plant
•My Favourite Landscape or Garden Setting
•Flowers in their natural, wild setting
•Flowers with pets or other animals

"The Carrickfergus in Bloom Virtual Flower Show affords the community an opportunity to view and vote on the horticultural work of local people. I would encourage borough residents to log-on to the Carrickfergus Borough Council website to view the entries. The quality of the work is very high and the willingness of local people to display their Carrickfergus in Bloom themed work is commendable."

"Voting is easy just log on to and pick your favourite photograph. The photo in each category that receives the most votes wins. The winners and runner-up will be invited to a prize-giving ceremony at the Town Hall in October to receive their certificates and prizes."