Major Success for Perth at Britain in Bloom

Beautiful Perth volunteers group

Local charity Beautiful Perth, which runs the ‘Perth in Bloom’ campaign in the Fair City, has brought home a clutch of major awards from the 2018 Britain in Bloom Awards ceremony, which was held in Belfast on Friday night (19 Oct). Perth won:

  • A Gold Medal
  • The trophy for the Best Large Town* in the UK (beating off stiff competition from 8 other locations**)
  • The Parks and Green Spaces Award for Riverside Park
  • An individual ‘Neighbourhood Champion’ Award for one of its volunteers, Tom Lowdon.

The evening was topped off with the announcement that Beautiful Perth is one of only 5 groups in the UK to be nominated for the much-coveted ‘Champion of Champions’ Award in 2019.

Beautiful Perth Chairman John Summers said: “We are absolutely overwhelmed by these fantastic successes. These Awards represent thoroughly well-deserved recognition for all the work done by our amazing volunteers and I couldn’t be more proud of them! And we share our success with our many other supporters – including Perth & Kinross Council’s Community Greenspace, Waste Services and Community Justice teams, staff at the Westbank nursery and the local residents, businesses and community groups who help us as supporters, suppliers, sponsors and partners in action. Our grateful thanks to them all. We are very honoured indeed to have been nominated for the Champion of Champions Award next year. This is the highest honour awarded by Britain in Bloom, but it also has the very highest judging standards. That means a lot of work for us, but we know we are up for the challenge.

 “I am delighted that Tom Lowdon has received a ‘Community Champion’ Award. Anyone who visits Riverside Park is likely to have seen him hard at work amongst the heather beds, the Compassionate Friends Garden, the sustainable planting beds in the Rodney Garden or the raised beds on Dundee Road. He works tirelessly for our cause and it is only right that he should receive this national recognition.”

Tom Lowdon - Beautiful Perth volunteer.jpg

The RHS Britain in Bloom Awards reflect the work done by volunteers in villages, towns and cities right across the UK. Scotland did particularly well this year – of the 76 ‘bloom groups’ who entered in the 12 categories, five were from north of the border (Perth, Falkirk, Linlithgow, East Haven and Aberdeen). All five won Gold medals and four won their categories – Aberdeen was best city, East Haven best small coastal community, Falkirk topped the Town Centres & Business Districts category, Linlithgow was best Town and Perth Best Large Town*.

*The Britain in Bloom Award categories are set by population size, and Perth falls into the ‘Large Town’ category.

 **The other entrants in the Large Town category were Ballymena (Ulster), Beverley (Yorkshire), Bury St Edmunds (Anglia), Colwyn Bay (Wales), Congleton (North West), Oswestry (Heart of England), Penrith (Cumbria) and Royal Tunbridge Wells (South East)

 Full results from the Royal Horticultural Society’s Britain in Bloom Awards 2018 can be found here:


6. VOLUNTEERING FOR ALL – Celebrating 20 Blooming Years

Take a Pride in Perth & Kinross Association are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year. To get the festivities underway the Association held a Garden Party at Perth Racecourse on Friday 1 June.

Past and present members of the 48 ‘bloom’ groups currently operating across the Perth & Kinross area turned out in their finery to enjoy the afternoon and we were honoured to be joined by the Provost and Deputy Provost.

Everything was perfectly planned – but this being Scotland, the weather didn’t co-operate! Not long after the formalities got underway a thunderstorm hit with rain in the proverbial biblical proportions. The lightning blew out the power in our marquee so our carefully laid plans had to be swiftly revised, but us ‘Bloomers’ are made of hardy stuff, our community spirit came to the fore, so a great time was had by all!

Congratulations not only to the winners of the Best Hat competition, but also to everyone who entered for brightening up the marquee!

Our thanks (and sympathies) to founder member Euna Scott, whose excellent presentation was cruelly cut short, and to the Rock Choir who had to perform ‘acapella’ and did so absolutely brilliantly.

Thanks also to Fergus Cook aka ‘David Douglas’, to cartoonist Neil Smith and to our organising committee aka Bill, Elspeth and Caroline.

Photographer Ian Potter of LightPress Media & Design also did a brilliant job despite impact of the weather on light levels, and his excellent a photo album of the event can now be viewed on Beautiful Perth’s Flickr site.

We couldn’t get the planned group photo because of the conditions, but copies of the other event photos are now available – go to the Flickr site (click the link above, hover mouse over the picture you want and you’ll see the photo number;  email with the number(s) you want and she will forward them to you.

When you tweet… please tag! #volunteersweek #PKCGreenVolunteers

Pictures (from left): Before the deluge; Provost Melloy; (below) Hats!


Beechgrove Garden Question Time, Perth 23rd May

Local charity Beautiful Perth is welcoming the Beechgrove Garden team to Perth on 23 May. FREE tickets are now available for a ‘Gardeners’ Question Time’ session that evening, in Joan Knight Studio, Perth Theatre.

Gardeners from Perth and beyond are invited to come along and put their questions to Jim McColl, Carole Baxter, George Anderson and Brian Cunningham, who will be on the panel to provide expert horticultural advice.

Pictures of garden problems or actual problem plants, can be brought along to help the experts answer questions. Doors are open from 17.30, audience to be seated by 18.15 and filming starts at 18.30.

Tickets are FREE via Eventbrite or can be obtained by emailing, with ‘Roadshow’ as the subject, to or

Earlier in their visit to the Fair City, the Beechgrove team will be filming with volunteers from Beautiful Perth at the heather garden in Riverside Park, and will also visit the allotments on Moncreiffe Island.


Brickhall Community Garden – work starts in spring 2018

Bridge of Earn’s volunteer group Brig in Bloom has announced that their project ‘Bridging the Past’ enters its final phase this spring, with the creation of the new Brickhall Community Garden.

Brickhall Community Garden

The project – which celebrates the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology – has received generous support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Gannochy Trust, Perth and Kinross Council’s Community Environment Challenge Fund, the Innogy Renewables UK’s Lochelbank Wind Farm Community Fund, Awards for All and TESCO Bags of Help.

Funding enabled Bridge of Earn residents and pupils from Dunbarney and Kilgraston Schools to share and record stories about the village’s farming heritage between the 1940s and1960s.

The final part of the project will create a garden which reflects the village’s history. As well as paths and seating, the garden design includes dry stone walling and traditional native plant species. A ‘listening post’ will provide recordings of residents’ memories and the sounds of days gone by. The garden will provide a haven for wildlife and offer everyone a tranquil place to relax.

Landscaping work will be undertaken by a contractor whilst volunteers will plant up the new garden with specially selected shrubs and plants. Work is expected to take place between April and June. It will culminate in a special opening event so that everyone who has taken part in the project – more than 100 so far – can celebrate their achievements.

Driving force behind the project is local community group Brig in Bloom, led by Avril Fulton, who said: ‘Brig in Bloom is very excited to the see their vision come to fruition. We thank everyone for their support. However, we are sad that local project champion George Smith has passed away recently. We intend that the garden will also be a fitting memorial for his contribution to our community.’ For more information please contact Avril Fulton

Provost of Perth and Kinross, Dennis Melloy commented:

“Community groups such as Brig in Bloom contribute significantly to improving their local areas through volunteering and a desire to make a positive difference. My sympathies go out to George Smith’s family, friends and fellow volunteers – I am sure the Brickhall Community Garden will be a very fine reflection of his commitment to Bridge of Earn.”

Brig in Bloom strapline

Download the plans below:

C1616.001D Balmanno Community Garden

C1616.004 Brickhall Existing

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Gold Residential – Environment & Conservation Camp

The Community Greenspace Rangers often work in partnership with other organisations for participants to achieve Duke of Edinburgh awards.  For the past five years there has been a partnership between Abernethy Trust, Ardeonaig.  Whilst at the centre and in the Highland Perthshire Countryside they not only work towards completing their awards but also work towards their John Muir Awards. In turn they support local Path groups, Bloom groups and help to complete the councils forest plans.

To get a flavour of their experience in their own words…..

“During our DofE Gold Residential camp that took place over the course of five days, we helped Jeannie Grant, PKC Community Greenspace Ranger, with two days of conservation volunteering to help out the Rannoch Path Group.

On the first day in Kinloch Rannoch we helped to brighten up some of the areas in the village, planting daffodil bulbs on the grassy bank by the village hall and at the War Memorial, to flower next spring. We also helped to clear the public footpath on the site of the old public toilets by the bridge. This involved cutting off the dead branches from the oak tree, improving the fence by adding some new fence posts and clearing moss from the footpath and steps. We used specialist tools, including a flat mallet, pole saw, bow saw, loppers and various other tools.

On the second day, we took part in maintaining the footpath to MacGregor’s Cave. We had the chance to use tree poppers as well as other tools from the previous day. We saw some amazing views along the way and explored MacGregor’s Cave at the end.

As a reward for our voluntary conservation work, Jeannie very kindly brought Kelly Kettles for us to prepare hot chocolate and toasted marshmallows. Using natural resources such as lichen, twigs and dried grass, we learned how to make small, contained fires to fuel the kettles.

Throughout the whole experience, working with people we previously didn’t know, we were able to gain valuable skills which we will be able to use in the future. At the start of our residential we all aimed to put something back into the local community and all feel as if we have achieved this. The overall experience has been very rewarding because of the long-term difference we have helped to make in the local area.

We would like to thank Jeannie Grant and the leaders at the Abernethy Ardeonaig Centre for an incredible camp that we won’t forget and for an excellent opportunity.”

Abernethy Ardeonaig DofE Gold Residential Camp

Environment & Conservation Team October 2017

If you have a group that would benefit form partnership work to help participants to complete Duke of Edinburgh please do contact the Communities team by emailing or phoning 01738 475000 and asking to speak to Community Greenspace Communities Team.



Junior Rangers

Community Greenspace Rangers have been supporting the Junior Ranger scheme administered by Cairngorm National Park and delivered in a partnership between Highland Perthshire’s Ranger Services via Pitlochry High School.  As we approach the half way point of the second year that Community Greenspace has been involved in, I thought it would be good to see some of the last years project from their presentation at the end of the introduction week through to one of their final articles written. The photos show their final task with Community Greenspace supporting Rannoch in Bloom and Rannoch path Group.

It is also good to report that all participants completed their Junior Ranger Award and their John Muir Conserve Award.

Black Spout Wood

“We all love the Kelly kettle so much because we always have hot chocolate to bump up the calories after burning off so many. We especially loved it after we went to Black Spout Woods where we cut down dead trees and dominating tree species. This is to allow the hazel and oak trees to grow, as a result of other domineering trees its numbers are sparse.

We also tried out the emergency tent, which was fun although a little cramped. It is designed for use if you ever get lost to protect from the elements and hypothermia.

The highlight was definitely the hot chocolate although we had to wait a while because there was a dramatic moment when someone knocked it over.”  Elah Cohen



Chain reaction!

An update of the Rannoch in Bloom Group has to be that there has been a chain reaction due to the events that Elspeth Bruce, Environmental Initiatives Officer,  encouraged and aided with in Rannoch.  Firstly, a stunning raised bed appeared outside a non-gardeners house.  The new “window” boxes provided by the Car Parking team were planted up by Kinloch Rannoch Primary School Pupils and the Bloom Group.  Then just last weekend at the last task ownership was taken of the revitalised tubs (ex whiskey barrels) provided by Elspeth and the Community Payback team were planted up outside one of the business premises.  Volunteers turned up and weeded and did further planting in the tubs around the village.  Watch this space as they hope to start up a gardening competition and you never know what else.


As ever there is an open door for more help, whether you come and weed, or water some of the tubs or even give excess plants to the group.  There is even space in the committee.  For further information please contact

Blooming Inspirational!

I attended the official opening of two Bloom projects in Perthshire last week on behalf of Community Greenspace, and I felt these community efforts to be truly inspiring, I hope you do to!

The Keir Bridge project ( officially opened on Friday the 6th of May ) has transformed a dark area of woodland in to a welcoming area by the Keir Burn, whilst safeguarding and enhancing the natural beauty of the area.

A massive well done Sheila Shaw and Keith Lawrence in particular,  for their efforts in ensuring that the project was delivered so successfully.  Further plans are afoot to install Red Squirrel boxes, and we await the flourishing of wild flower areas.  It is very evident that this area will enjoyed by all generations to come.

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And then in the glorious sunshine, off to Abernethy in Bloom and the official opening of Nurse Peattie’s Garden ( 7th of May ).  Again a transformed area with so many special touches, commemorating the life of the local district Nurse, Elizabeth Peattie who served this Perthshire community from 1936 to 1963 and travelled on her trusty bicycle.  A real village effort with enchanting planting by a relatively new bloom group – led by Caroline Boyle and Ian Lamond.

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Perthshire is Beautiful (It is Blooming Official!)

The green carpet was rolled out in Perth last week as communities from across Scotland heard how they had fared in the 2015 Beautiful Scotland Awards.

The annual ceremony recognises the efforts of groups who improve their local environmental quality with horticulture and the participation of their communities.

The event at Perth Concert Hall was hosted by PKC, and the awards were presented by Provost Liz Grant. Attendees were piped into the ceremony and a real sense of pride was felt by all.

Around 200 delegates from Beautiful Scotland entrant groups attended, with Fife putting forward the largest amount of groups.

Derek Robertson, Chief Executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful praised those present for the impact their efforts have had:

“We sometimes forget the massive impact that a clean and safe environment has on local communities… but there is ample evidence that a good local environment can deliver a broad range of associated benefits… physical and mental health and well-being, civic pride and the creation of economic opportunities.” 

The results of the 2015 Beautiful Scotland Awards for Perth and Kinross communities are as follows:

Perth – gold medal, Large Town Winner and winner of David Welch Memorial Award (for something special) for the Riverside Heather Collection

Blairgowrie and Rattray – gold medal

Dunkeld and Birnam – silver gilt medal and Best New Entry

Bridge of Earn – Silver Gilt medal

Pitlochry – Gold medal and Small Town Category winner

Comrie  – gold medal

The prestigious Beautiful Scotland Rosebowl Award was presented to Bute in Bloom.

Thanks to everyone who helped our communities achieve it!

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