STUNNING floral displays have helped communities across Oxfordshire win prestigious gardening awards despite the wettest summer in 100 years.
The Thames and Chiltern in Bloom Association has awarded Oxford a Silver Gilt in the city category and Woodstock a Gold Award in the small town category.
Though Oxford has been absent from the competition for six years, judges for the award said: “Every credit goes to the Oxford in Bloom committee, the efforts of the co-ordinator and the council for bringing together and displaying the achievements and support of many businesses and organisations, community groups and others, as well as partnership working, to make a really worthy bloom entry.”
The award – which is handed to some of the highest standard entries – was given for displays at Templars Square Shopping Centre in Cowley, Millham Ford Nature Park and Elder Stubbs Community Garden, also in Cowley.
During the event there were also regional awards given out.
Bury Knowle Park won the Best Park in the local authority/trust category and Oxford Business Park North, won the Best Park – commercial category.
Michelle Legg, parks development officer at Oxford City Council , said: “The staff who keep the park clean, tidy and looking good have worked hard this year and I am pleased that their efforts have been rewarded.”
Meanwhile, Woodstock won its fifth Gold Award in the regional competition in the last six years and a team of 50 volunteers now works on the displays.
Woodstock in Bloom chairman Pauline Richardson said: “It is very rewarding for the community to have won.
“Woodstock is a naturally attractive town and people have got great pride in it.”
Other Oxfordshire winners included Bicester (Silver Gilt) and Witney (Silver Award) in the large town category, Henley-on-Thames (Gold Award) and Kidlington (Silver Gilt) in the town category and Watlington (Gold Award) in the large village category.
Wood Green School in Witney won the competition’s Mark Mattock Schools Challenge Cup, while West Kidlington School received a commendation.