Rugby has come up smelling of flowers again by winning gold for the seventh year in a row in the Heart of England in Bloom Awards.
Poppies played a major role in this year’s entry, with free poppy seeds given to schools, parish councils and community groups to commemorate the centenary of the start of the First World War.
Rugby Mayor Cllr Ramesh Srivastava, received the award on behalf of the borough during a prestigious ceremony at Shrewsbury’s Theatre Severn on Thursday.
He said: “It was an honour to receive the award on behalf of the borough and reflects a real community effort.”
The council’s Edible Gardening project also took centre stage, with communities encouraged to grow - and eat - vegetables and herbs in plots and borders.
Judges from Heart of England in Bloom toured the borough in July, and hailed the council’s “philosophy of creative forward thinking” and commitment to working with the public to create innovative projects.
They also singled out Rugby’s new Rainsbrook Cemetery and Crematorium for praise, describing it as “an outstanding modern facility that provides the space for peaceful reflection,” while the floral displays on the borough’s roundabouts were branded “vibrant and welcoming”.
The borough won the gold award in the small city category, and Cllr Dr Mark Williams, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for sustainable environment, said he was delighted the town’s entry had been rewarded with the contest’s highest accolade for a seventh year in a row.
“Once again our entry focused on bringing communities together, and involved the hard work and dedication of the council’s parks and open spaces team, businesses, schools, volunteers and community organisations,” Cllr Williams added.
Meanwhile, Hillmorton in Bloom won a Silver Gilt award in the Small Town category.,while Ashlawn Cutting Nature Reserve was given a special award.
The site was formed by the construction of the Great Central Railway at the end of the 19th century and whilst the railway was operating the embankment and cutting sides were mostly species rich grasslands.
But since the line was closed in 1966 the grassland has been gradually invaded by scrub, which now dominates.
The site supports many plants normally associated with unimproved grassland and hay meadows, there is a diverse range of birds and the pools support frogs, toads and newts as well as dragonflies and array of butterflies.
Judges were impressed with the sensitivity with which the work has been carried out by volunteers from Warwickshire Wildlife Trust.