AFTER a week of torrential rainfall the skies cleared as the national RHS In Bloom judges visited Wilmslow in warm sunshine.

Wilmslow is only one of six large towns in the UK to reach the national finals and the judges were keen to stress that this now represented a much more stringent and competitive view of the town’s achievement.

As a national finalist, Wilmslow has to reach very strict criteria of performance not only on the planting in the town but also on its community involvement and demonstration of environmental responsibility.

Knutsford Guardian:

The judges look at a floral tribute to Alan Turing

Ruth Menlove, chairman of Wilmslow In Bloom said: “We face not only the greater expectation of participation in the national competition but with the added weight of new judging criteria.

“This places more emphasis on plant quality and maintenance together with an acknowledgement of heritage and environmental responsibility.

“A new theme introduced by the RHS only last March of ‘Wise ways with water’, although in tune with our own ways of development isn’t one which we can demonstrate easily.”

The judges were taken around a similar route to that which was followed by the regional judges last month.

Helen Yates said: “The weather forecasts were so unpredictable that we judged it prudent to end our tour at the leisure centre cricket pitch on which, should it have been necessary, we could have dodged indoors to avoid a downpour.

Knutsford Guardian:

Judges during their tour of the town

“In the end, our worries proved unfounded and we were able to introduce RHS judges, Rae and Dale, to a broad circle of In Bloom volunteers on the pitch.”

Dale Hector thanked diners and said what an enjoyable visit he and his fellow judge, Rae Beckwith, had encountered in their first visit to Wilmslow. Results will be announced on the evening of Friday, October 25.