West Yorkshire's Ilkley in bloom

PUBLISHED: 15:02 13 January 2010 | UPDATED: 18:03 15 April 2016

The Grove, Ilkley

The Grove, Ilkley

Amanda Griffiths visits the floral town where there's always something to do

Brook Street, IlkleyBrook Street, Ilkley

It's judgement day for Ilkley. As we go to press, the judges from Britain in Bloom will be roaming the streets of the spa town in West Yorkshire making notes while the Ilkley in Bloom committee, headed by local councillor Kate Brown, will be nervously hoping all their hard work will pay off and they'll be crowned the victors in the prestigious horticultural competition.

'We got a gold medal in Yorkshire in Bloom last year,' explains Kate, 'and were asked if we would represent Yorkshire in Britain in Bloom this year. We said yes and have been working towards that ever since.

'The difference is that we just get one judging visit but we also have to produce a detailed portfolio showing what we have been doing in the last year.

'We have a hardcore of about nine volunteers who meet every Sunday morning. We have about 30 areas we tend to, from flower beds to border boxes. We have to show not just what we've been doing physically to the town but also how we've been working with other groups and local organisations.

Lisa Thornton finds solitude at the Cow and Calf rocks on Ilkley MoorLisa Thornton finds solitude at the Cow and Calf rocks on Ilkley Moor

'There's three parts to the competition now, horticulture, environment and community. We work closely with the parks and landscapes department at Bradford Council and have done a lot of work with local schools. One in Ben Rhydding celebrated its 100th anniversary this year so we went and helped the pupils plant a tree to commemorate that, we also did some litter picking with another. After the litter pick the children used what they'd collected as part of an art project.

'We're in the town section of Britain in Bloom, up against places like Morpeth in Northumberland and Oakham in Rutland. We're never over-confident but we always do our best and try to keep on top of everything so Ilkley looks at its best all the time, not just when the judges come around. I do feel we would be working just as hard to keep Ilkley looking nice even if we weren't in the competition.' The results will be announced on September 23rd.

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