Ulster in Bloom launched

THE 2013 Translink Ulster in Bloom competition has been officially launched.

And this year judges will be paying particular attention to efforts to support Northern Ireland’s rich biodiversity.

The 35th year of the annual horticultural competition has attracted 145 entries representing councils, community groups, businesses, bus and rail stations all preparing to impress judges with beautiful plant and floral presentations.

2013 competition categories include: Small Village, Large Village, Small Town, Town, Large Town, City, Roses in Towns, Special Awards for Outstanding Presentation, Community Rail Halt, Floral Station and Most Improved. This year one of the ‘Special Award’ categories will be presented to the entry that shows the greatest efforts to support local biodiversity.

This latest development reflects Translink’s Biodiversity Action Plan that seeks to support natural habitats and species around the bus and rail network.

Translink is also distributing thousands of free packets of wildflower seeds to local stations for customers in a bid to support bees and the process of pollination.

Translink board member Angela Coffey explained: “The Translink Ulster in Bloom Competition continues to attract entries from cities, towns and villages right across Northern Ireland, encouraging them to look their best through exquisite plant and floral displays.

“The skill, passion and dedication shown by local gardening talent leaves a lasting positive impression on visitors who possess considerable ‘spending power’, encouraging them to make a return visit.

“While displays look beautiful they also have the capacity to support nature and we are particularly keen for more people to consider biodiversity when choosing their plants, shrubs and flowers.”

Councillor Freda Donnelly, Northern Ireland Local Government Association, said: “It is my pleasure and privilege to represent the Northern Ireland Local Government Association and to convey our admiration, appreciation and encouragement to the Councils, the local ‘In-Bloom’ committees, the residents, the business community and the very many people who supported, and actively participated in, the Translink Ulster in Bloom Competition since its inception.”