Northampton has just been officially announced as one of the finalists in this year’s national Britain in Bloom competition.

Now in its 54th year, the nationwide contest pits villages, towns and cities against similar sized places across a range of criteria including horticultural know-how, community engagement, efforts to bolster biodiversity, and climate change adaptation.

National finalists are chosen based on their performance in the local division of the competition – which for Northampton is East Midlands in Bloom – and Northampton will be up against Norwich, Reading, Aberdeen and Belfast in this year’s competition.

Northampton Borough Council co-ordinates the borough’s bloom efforts but hundreds of community groups, schools and individuals make it possible.

Cllr Mike Hallam, Cabinet member for environment, said: “Our entry into this year’s national competition is a credit to all the hard work of those who took part in last year’s Northampton in Bloom and East Midlands in Bloom.

“We have some very talented, dedicated and inventive gardeners across our town and I’m so proud of their achievement.

“Work is already under way on this year’s entry and I’m really looking forward to seeing what people come up with for this year.”

Judges will visit during the first two weeks of August. Darren Share, chair of the Britain in Bloom judging panel, said: “The Britain in Bloom campaign galvanises communities and provides the driving force for thousands of gardening enthusiasts across the country.

“Britain in Bloom groups work tirelessly throughout the year to tackle local issues and improve the place they call home.

“Everyone benefits from the work these groups carry out and I have seen first-hand the positive impact Britain in Bloom has had in bringing communities together.”

Anyone wishing to take part in this year’s competition should contact Sue Ousley at sousley@northampton.gov.uk or on 01604 837357.