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Guildford in Bloom

Guildford in Bloom brings together community groups, businesses, schools and residents to promote imaginative ways to make the town and surrounding areas look their best and champion Guildford's natural environment.

Guildhall with flower baskets banner image

The Guildford in Bloom 2018 Gardening Competition is now open for entries.

The competition is free to enter for borough residents, schools, community groups and businesses who love gardening and want to help make Guildford and surrounding villages an even more beautiful place to live, work and visit.

Pick one category from the list below. Use our Guildford in Bloom online form to enter the competition. Then prepare your garden, allotment or containers for judging.

Commemorating the centenary of WW1, our theme this year is 'Peace'. The best themed garden, allotment or container will win the Dorothy Walden Award. You can choose to theme, or not to theme. Note, our School Gardening Competition has a different theme - see details below.


CategoryWhat the judges are looking for

Best Front Garden

Your garden must be visible to the public from the footpath. It will be judged on design, colour, quality of plants and all year round interest. Gardens will be divided into small or large category.

Best Allotment and Vegetable/Kitchen Gardens

Judged on the variety and quality of vegetables grown, evidence of good horticultural practice, use of space and sustainable management.  All allotment plots entered must have the plot number clearly on display.

Best Garden for Wildlife

Open to all gardens, including businesses and community projects where the design, choice of plants and management is especially welcoming to wildlife.

Best Pub in Bloom

We are looking for the best Pub in Bloom. A well-balanced design, good use of colour and quality planting will score high marks.

Best Container Garden

Open to balconies and gardens that are based on pots and baskets. Must be visible to the public.

Best Neighbourhood Project

This category recognises projects that green up the local area and include those organised by sheltered accommodation, village halls, residents associations, parish councils, voluntary groups and charities and so on. Judges will be looking for good design, colour and plant quality as well as input from residents or the community.

Best School in Bloom

This year our theme is 'The World Around Us'. We are looking for imaginatively themed gardens or novel containers. Children's involvement with the design, planting and upkeep, and meeting the theme of the competition, will score high marks. Note: see below for school gardening competition dates which are different from our main gardening competition

Student Garden Showcase

A University of Surrey student garden, inspired by the Suffragettes


How to enter and get involved

Use our online entry form to submit your entry to the competition.

  • Entries must be received by Sunday 17 June 2018.

  • Simply choose a category, choose to theme or not to theme.

  • You can enter only one category per site/address.

  • Judging takes place between 2 to 20 July. It is not possible to advise individual entrants of the exact day and time of judging (with the exception of vegetable/kitchen gardens, wildlife gardens and neighbourhood project categories)

  • Judges will not be available to discuss individual entries.

  • The judges' decision is final.

  • Winners will be notified by email and invited to the awards ceremony which takes place on 12 September 2018.

  • A list of winners will be published on our website.

  • Photographs of your garden may be used for marketing purposes.

  • Guildford Borough Council/Guildford in Bloom will use your information to administer the competition, send regular newsletters with news and competition information and send you invitations to enter the competition, 'Picnic in the Castle Grounds' launch event, our Awards Show, Farmers' Market, Surrey County Show and various other events. Your details will not be shared with any other person or organisation.

School Gardening Competition 2018

Our theme for 2018 is 'The World Around Us'. We are looking for imaginatively themed gardens and novel containers.

What we would like you to think about:

  • the world around you locally, or the wider world, perhaps concentrate on one country

  • the plants you will use, we like plants that attract wildlife, especially bees

  • the containers you will use, previously used containers and objects would be great.

Above all, we want you to have fun designing, planting and looking after your gardens.

Competition details 

The competition is free to enter and open to all schools in the Borough of Guildford.

If you would like to enter the competition, please email the Guildford in Bloom Coordinator at parks@guildford.gov.uk or fill out our icon School Gardening Competition 2018 application form [445.14KB] and email it to parks@guildford.gov.uk.

The closing date for entries is: 25 May 2018.

Judging dates are: 4 to 15 June 2018 (we will confirm the exact date with you nearer the time).

If you are using novel containers, up to four will be judged for each entry. The Awards Ceremony will be held at Clandon Park Garden Centre on Wednesday 20 June 2018.

Winners of the School Gardening Competition 2017

The theme of the 2017 competition was 'The seaside'.

Eleven local schools took part and they created fantastic seaside gardens in their school grounds.

Watch our short video showing the stunning winning entries.

Diary dates 2018


25 May 2018

School Gardening Competition entry closes

28 May 2018

Surrey County Show

2 June 2018

Picnic in the Castle Grounds - a fabulous, free family event with the unveiling of the flower beds and fantastic entertainment from the bandstand

4 to 15 June 2018

School Gardening Competition judging

17 June 2018

Guildford in Bloom Competition entry closes

20 June 2018

School Gardening Competition Awards

2 to 20 July 2018

Guildford in Bloom Competition judging

12 September 2018

Guildford in Bloom Award Ceremony


Sponsors for Guildford in Bloom

If you would like to become a Guildford in Bloom Sponsor, please download a copy of our sponsors' application form from the Downloads on the right of this page.

Guildford in Bloom gives you an excellent opportunity to promote your business while helping us keep the borough blooming.

You can sponsor a category, or become the major sponsor for the event.

Guildford in Bloom winners 2017

Take a look at the list of winners for 2017.

See the stunning gardens created by our winners in the 2017 Guildford in Bloom video:

Become a Guildford in Bloom Committee Member

We are seeking new Committee Members. For more information, please email parks@guildford.gov.uk or telephone 01483 444715.