After a tentative post covid return last year, Wales in Bloom 2022 was back in full force with some amazing Gold award winning floral displays. Gardeners struggled to keep the displays flowering through the hot spell but residents, visitors and judges have been treated to some spectacular displays.

This was the first time since Covid that entrants were able to get back together to fund raise and work together in teams and this allowed gardeners and volunteers to produce some spectacular floral displays across Wales.

This year’s Wales in Bloom Awards Ceremony was hosted by Grow for Talgarth in Mid Wales with entrants visiting the fabulous floral displays through the village.

Welcoming the guests Rosie Williams and Gaynor Weavers of Grow for Talgarth said, ‘It’s been an honour and a privilege to host this prestigious event. The community have been so supportive showing that we are a true community pulling together to put on this event. We have had support from all groups and organisations and not just the gardening groups. There is no I in team and that really does go for us in Talgarth and all those who are part of Wales in Bloom.’

Following a tribute to and a minute’s silence in respect for her late HRH Queen Elizabeth II, Chairperson, Peter Barton-Price said ‘Today is a celebration of a whole year’s commitment and effort. This year we saw each other without masks, shook each other’s hands and met together. Today is the day that we celebrate your efforts and your achievements.’

The winners received their RHS medals and the winners received their plaques from local boys, award winning designers and TV celebrity gardeners Harry and David Rich.

In the class for Large Towns, both Prestatyn and Colwyn Bay retained their Gold awards, however this year in a turnaround Colwyn Bay just pipped Prestatyn for first place.

In the Town Class the standards were raised again with Denbigh, Abergavenny and Ystradgynlais all receiving Gold awards and Holywell getting a Silver Gilt. Denbigh retained the title for best Town in Wales.

Abergavenny Mayor Cllr Tony Konieczny and Town Clerk Sandra Rosser were present at the official awards ceremony in Talgarth on Friday September 9 to pick up the awards for Abergavenny in Bloom.

In a statement addressed to those who assisted with this year’s Abergavenny in Bloom, Cllr Konieczny said: “We are delighted to say that we have once again achieved a Gold award from Wales in Bloom, and were pipped by just one point by Denbigh for overall winner.

“I would also like to congratulate Our Lady and St Michael’s RC Primary who came 2nd in the schools category, a well deserved acknowledgement for their great work.

“On behalf of the town council, I would like to thank you all for your tireless work and enthusiaism in supporting Abergavenny in Bloom.”

The class for Small Towns saw Ystrad Mynach winning the class with a Silver Gilt award.

The class for Large villages is always a tumultuous battle with Talgarth and Usk receiving Gold Awards. The displays were so close that the judges could not separate them and for the first time they shared the title.

Janet Munday of Usk in Bloom said, ‘I am totally speechless. It’s nice to be back on top. This is the 39th time we have won, that is some record to keep up,’

The smallest category is for Villages with Matthern, Mounton & Pwllmeyric striking Gold in first place and Llanwrtyd Wells receiving Silver Gilt in second place.

There were seven strong entries in the schools category where unlike the other sections, no medals are awarded. The winning school was Cila Primary school, Swansea, with Our Lady and St Michael, Abergavenny taking second place.

The ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ entries are proving to be a great stepping stone to the main campaign. This year there were lots of new entries some of them achieving the top award. There were 14 Outstanding Awards and 12 at Thriving level, 11 Advancing and 1 improving. The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and Wales in Bloom were proud to present the It’s Your Neighbourhood, National Certificate of Distinction to Rhuddlan Nature Reserve.

A special award is given to the best garden visited by the judges, the award was presented to Mel Hurd of Priory Lodge in Usk. A trembling Mel, was clearly overwhelmed by the award said, ’I am over the moon, I just did not expect this, I am in a state of shock,’

The climax of the ceremony was the presentation of the Norman Stewart Award, given each year to the individual or group who make an outstanding contribution to Wales in Bloom and their local entry. This year the award was jointly presented to Rosemary Hayes of Saundersfoot and Holt Community Gardeners.

In closing Peter Barton Price, Chair of Wales in Bloom said, ‘Our Award Ceremony 2022 in Talgarth was this year a reflective celebration. Whilst remembering the passing of Her Majesty the Queen it was also a reminder that life is also an achievement. It was, therefore, decided that the Ceremony should go ahead to recognise the hard work, commitment and dedication of all our `It’s Your Neighbourhood’ groups and Wales in Bloom entries. I was delighted to be able to share these achievements with all present. We look forward to receiving next year’s entries and the opportunity once again to meet with you blooming fantastic people.’