Hereford in Bloom was originally founded  in 1999 to enter the city in the national Britain in Bloom competition staged by the Royal Horticultural Society and, which, in 2014 celebrated its Golden Jubilee. It is a group of volunteers committed to ensuring that Hereford, a vibrant and growing city, protects – and enhances – its natural environment Their efforts won top marks from the judges and a  Gold Medal in 2015.

The judges were particularly impressed with some of the inspiring and innovative projects introduced by the team – City Garden Festival, competitions  to find the best Front Gardens and best Business floral displays, a hanging basket scheme for city shops and offices, ‘Iron Trees’ with hanging  flower baskets at key points, a welcome to Hereford’ sign in box hedging  at Aylestone Hill, old stone cider presses installed and a massive clean-up of the River Wye- just a few of the Bloomers contribution to the city.

The main criteria for the judges are: Horticultural Achievement, Environmental Responsibility, Sustainability, Community Participation and Partnership Working, the sum total of which results in a town in which its citizens can live, work and prosper and visitors are made to feel welcome. Hereford scored virtually maximum points in each of these categories.

Now, the challenge for the HIB team is to do it all again in 2016 and retain the coveted Gold Medal. A RHS survey shows that a town winning Gold in the national Bloom competition can expect visitor numbers to increase by up to 17%, a huge bonus for Hereford which aims to be the prime regional shopping destination.