Published on 10th August 2011

Taking the theme of Cheltenham ’s very own National Hunt Festival, the borough council’s nursery team has just scooped a silver award at Tatton Park .

They were thrilled to win the Silver Grenfell award in this year’s RHS national flowerbed competition.

The prize-winning flower bed, designed in her own time by council gardener, Sharon Kedward, celebrates one hundred years of Cheltenham ’s National Hunt Festival. It features legendary Desert Orchid racing past the lucky horseshoe-shaped finishing post to the delight (and despair) of the crowds, along with the iconic Gold Cup.  Features of the display include the word Cheltenham , spelt out in Marigolds, with the N and H at the centre, highlighted as the initials of National Hunt. The colour scheme reflects the Gold Cup theme and also the bright colours of the jockey silks. The display even features racing pundit, Mr McCririck.

Elsewhere in the display, the Gold Cup itself is a 3 dimensional form and it is filled with plants with black foliage and flowers, representing the 214,000 pints of Guiness that are consumed at the festival every year. Since there are so many visitors from Ireland , there is even a dark, shamrock shaped pool of Oxalis, representing the luck of the Irish.

The council’s horticultural team undertook the design and preparation work in their own time and the entry was sponsored by an RHS grant and Cheltenham racecourse.

John Rees, environmental maintenance manager said: "A lot of hard work and effort goes into all our displays and it is very rewarding when this is reflected in a nationally prestigious award.’’

It's horses for courses for Sharon and the team, whose work can be seen all around the town centre, especially in the flower beds on the Promenade and in Imperial gardens. There has been much praise for the floral displays in Cheltenham this year, with Cheltenham Borough Council receiving letters and e-mails from visitors to the town stating how much they are enjoying the overall effect, which has been described as 'inspiring and excellent'. One visitor sent congratulations for a 'superlative display' in 'tip top condition'.

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