Led by the BID (Business Improvement District), the Canterbury in Bloom team is formed of 20 local community groups, businesses and local authority members who work to keep Canterbury’s gardens, parks and streets flourishing throughout the year.
The judging was based on a portfolio alone this year as the site visit had to be cancelled due to Covid-19.
Christ Church’s main North Holmes campus falls within the outer precinct of St Augustine’s Abbey, part of Canterbury’s UNESCO World Heritage Site (WHS) that also includes Canterbury Cathedral and St Martin’s. Its green spaces and the species that live there are nurtured for their own sake, but also provide resources for learning, for community engagement, and for health and well-being. During Covid-19 the Grounds and Gardens team, under the leadership of Paul Sims and Mat Baldwin, have continued to maintain the campus.
Growing traditional hops from the Kent region takes place on the Canterbury Campus and brewing has long been associated with the Abbey site. One of the few elements of remaining medieval architecture on the campus is end wall of the monastic brew and bakehouse. Our hops grown contribute to the production of an annual celebratory ale made in association with a local microbrewery, the Canterbury Brewers.
During 2019-20, one of Christ Church’s pocket habitats, the Johnson Garden, was transformed into Community Wellbeing Garden, a relaxing space where students and staff can refresh mind and body.
Commenting on Canterbury’s submission, one of the Bloom judges said: “The commitment to sustainability, community engagement and a high standard of horticultural practice will ensure that Canterbury remains a beautiful and attractive city for residents and visitors, thus contributing to health and wellbeing and the economy of the city - for which the council and the In Bloom group should be congratulated - well done to all those involved in such difficult times."
The University’s contribution to in Bloom includes the fact that Bioblitz and other events are held on site and are open to students and staff, and on occasions to the local community. In 2019 a three-day community event was held in St Martin’s churchyard. Staff from archaeology, history, geography and ecology were on hand to help people to understand the heritage and natural history of the site, and to provide training in grave survey and plant and animal identification.