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Circus Planting Just the Trick for Britain in Bloom

Gardeners are bringing all the fun of the circus to Newcastle and Kidsgrove as part of the biggest ever Newcastle in Bloom campaign.

Show-stopping floral displays are at the heart of the Council’s summer bedding programme in honour of borough born showman Philip Astley who invented the world famous circus 250 years ago.

Circus, along with wildlife, are the two themes running through this year’s activities as Newcastle-under-Lyme represents the Heart of England region in the illustrious “Champion of Champions” section of the national UK Bloom finals.

The planting, which starts today (4 June), will see flower beds, hanging baskets, tubs and troughs spring into life with an eye-catching assortment of bright blooms.

Council gardeners are recreating the colours and shapes of a big top at the award winning Queen’s Gardens in Newcastle using red, blue, yellow, gold and white plants including antirrhinums, delphiniums and heliotropes.

Visitors to the nearby Grosvenor Gardens will be greeted by a clown made out of pink, white and red begonias as well as cannas, coleus and rudbeckia. The round bed in the middle represents the nose, the four surrounding ones will become the eyes and mouth while further beds, including triangular ones, will resemble a bow tie and other clothing.

“Funky pink” begonias, apricot “illumination” begonias and royal purple “fanfare” petunias feature in hanging baskets and troughs.

The planting scheme links in with the Royal Horticultural Society’s “Greening Grey Britain for Wildlife” theme which focuses on transforming hard and grey areas.

Other key projects include a patchwork display of mini meadows at Golf Links Walks, Chesterton, to attract pollinating insects, and bee-friendly planting and a hare sculpture at the Friars Street roundabout in Newcastle.

Cllr. Mark Holland, Cabinet member for leisure and culture, said: “This is our biggest ever year in Britain in Bloom – the pinnacle of our 28-year involvement in the competition.

“The Council has always provided a summer planting programme but great efforts are now made to link the design with the borough’s annual campaign as sites such as the Queen’s Gardens and Grosvenor Gardens in Newcastle are part of the judging route.

“In this very important year it’s fantastic, and also fitting, to use bright and beautiful plants to help celebrate the 250th anniversary of the first ever circus by a Newcastle man.

“Newcastle-under-Lyme is renowned for its excellent floral displays – residents, shoppers and visitors appreciate the pleasant surroundings they live, work and shop in. The cost of running the campaign is met by sponsorship from local businesses in recognition of the value they place on trading in such an environment.”

Green-fingered residents play a major part in Britain in Bloom by entering Council-run competitions.

National judges visit the borough on 31 July and the results will be announced at a ceremony in Belfast on 19 October. Newcastle is also competing in the small city category of Heart of England in Bloom. Judging for this takes place on 25 July.