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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 deadline to enter the 2017 Guildford in Bloom Competition has now passed. The judges will be looking at entries for the following categories:


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 a 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 private, 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 etc. 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 Seaside'. 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: dates for the school competition are different to the main competition - see below for details.

Best Public Building in Bloom

Your garden must be open to the public to visit or walk through. Judges will be looking for a good overall impression, with good design, colour and plant quality.

The Dorothy Walden Award

This will be awarded to the best 'first time' entry into any category.


Judging will take place between 3 to 21 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).

Winners will be notified by email and invited to the awards ceremony that takes place on 14 September 2017 at Yvonne Arnaud Theatre.

Terms and conditions

Judges will not be available to discuss individual entries

The judges' decision is final.

A list of winners will be published on our website. Photographs of your entry (garden, allotment) may be used for marketing purposes.

School Gardening Competition 2017

The theme of this year's competition was 'The seaside'.

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

See the table below for the results of the competition and watch our short video showing the stunning winning entries.


SchoolResultComments from the judges

Guildford Nursery School and Children's Centre (Hazel Avenue)

Silver Gilt

The children transformed their 'sand area' into a seaside garden. Pots had been planted up with flowers, fruit and vegetables, including mange tout, carrots and beans. The strawberries looked particularly 'yummy'. Children had a good idea of what they had planted. There was a lovely 'Punch and Judy' Theatre and photos of the children planting were used to create bunting. During our visit the children played imaginatively in the seaside garden.

Guildford Nursery School and Children's Centre (York Road)


Different containers were planted up on the seaside theme. The lovely hand-painted wooden beach huts had formed an edging. A boat planted with water underneath with a dolphin and octopus was called HMS York Road! All the flowers were planted from seed. A wonderful homemade lighthouse sat on a rock on a blue lobelia filled tyre. Seaside planted buckets hung on a wall with shells strung on string and there was a 'surfer dude' made by the children.

Jigsaw School

Silver Gilt

The students had planned their seaside garden and it included a submarine, fish and chips and sharks - the Great White and Hammerheads. The 'Jigsaw Titanic' had been beautifully made. Shells had been collected and displayed on a sandy beach. Carnations were used to create white foam and blue lobelia for the sea. Seaside buckets had been planted up with lavender and a small octopus was nestling in a shell.



The idea for this themed garden came from the Gardening Club which meets regularly each week. They had a designated area for their seaside project. Wooden troughs were reused from last year and there was an ice cream kiosk with flowers in cones. Ice cream flavours included strawberry, raspberry ripple and vanilla. There was a dingy made out of a tyre with a handmade sail, which had faces on. Tomato plants were used as palm trees. The boys made figures so that they could enjoy the seaside garden and they had to follow the advice of the sun safety posters.

Peaslake Free School


Containers were dotted around the outside area with seaside coloured plants. Handmade lollipops decorated fencing. Deck chairs and a windbreak were behind a blue rock pool which was filled with sea creatures and colourfully decorated pebbles. The flourishing vegetable patch reminded us of a boat and the children had made beautiful silver fish that dangling over the top of it. There was great community involvement - the school's seaside garden was shown in the Peaslake Open Garden Scheme.

Shalford Pre-School

Silver Gilt

Different areas had been planted up around the school. Shells had been collected by the children and were used to decorate the area around the sand pit. There was great use of recycling. We particularly like the planted swimming costume! Children had conversations about the seaside and quotes were hung from branches on a tree. There was a boat with a pirate flag and tyres surrounded a plot. There was lots of imagination and we were told "It can be whatever you want it to be".

Shawfield Primary School - Year R


A seaside café, selling crafty made ice creams - we tried an ice cream and it was delicious. A blue cloth representing the sea flowing into the sand with a rock pool close by. Pebbles were collected by children on recent seaside trips. Flowers were succulents and planted in pots. Homemade bunting decorated the area. There was a wonderful boat too and a 'flip-flop flower'.

St Joseph's Specialist School and College


The students had planned their garden with lovely art work which we saw in the art department. They created their seaside garden in the allotment area and they started by digging over the plot - hard work but they did it! A beautiful mermaid was sitting on the beach. She had a lovely hand painted tail. Blue lobelia was used for planting the sea and Marigolds for sand. Photographic bunting was hung above the garden showing the students at work creating their special garden.

St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Primary School


A lovely seaside area with chairs and an umbrella. Conical shaped hanging baskets were used as ice cream cones. Petunias, strawberries, marigolds and carnations were used as ice cream to fill the cones, representing flavours such as raspberry ripple, strawberry and honeycomb. Children were able to visit Clandon Park Garden Centre to choose their plants. Beautiful hand decorated pebbles lined the outside of the seaside garden.

Weyfield Primary Academy School

Gold and Best in Competition

What a wonderful seaside creation with two distinct areas separated by a beach hut and a boat donated by a sailing club. The boat was full of planted-up pots painted to represent seaside colours. Bird boxes were also painted by children, except for one which had a Wagtail in it. A bug hotel was underneath the boat. A delightful mermaid was relaxing and holding a cone filled with birdseed.

Worplesdon Primary School


The children had really embraced the theme. Great support from parents as children had made miniature themed gardens at home and bought them into school. Great imagination, there was a dinosaur themed one. The outside planters had flowers that had been chosen to reflect seaside colours. A lovely wooden planter was planted up to look like a fish, with the tail being pebbles and shells. Flip-flops were used to hold flower posts and sweet peas will slowly trail up string to represent a sail on a boat.

Well done and congratulations to you all! We look forward to seeing your entries again in 2018.

The 2018 theme will be 'The World Around Us'. Start thinking about your world locally, or further afield, for example a country like India. You could plant up some herbs and spices used in Indian cooking or flowers that reflect the colours of saris.

The judges would also like to see creative gardens with plants that attract wildlife and encourage recycling.

Photography competition

To celebrate its sponsorship of Guildford in Bloom 2017, White Lion Walk shopping centre this year teamed up with the Surrey Advertiser newspaper to run a photography competition. 

Six finalists were chosen by a judging panel, then the public voted for the winner via the Surrey Advertiser newspaper. Ezra Rollinson's photograph, entitled Castle Grounds, was the winning entry and he won a camera bag, tripod and high quality lens.

Diary dates 2017


26 May 2017

Entry deadline for the School Gardening Competition

28 May 2017

Entry deadline for Photography Competition

29 May 2017

Surrey County Show

3 June 2017

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

18 June 2017

Entry closes for Guildford in Bloom competition

21 June 2017

School Gardening Competition Awards

3 to 21 July 2017

Judging for Guildford in Bloom competition

14 September 2017

Awards ceremony for Guildford in Bloom 

Become a Guildford in Bloom Committee Member

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

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.

Winners of the 2016 competition

In 2016, 160 entrants took part in 10 categories, from small container gardens to allotments, neighbourhood projects to innovation in horticulture and wildlife gardens to pubs in bloom.

The awards ceremony took place at Burchatt's Farm Barn at Stoke Park with over 250 attendees, including local school children. The night was a great celebration of gardening in Guildford.

In total 158 prizes were awarded; 40 gardeners picked up the top Gold award. Best in Show was Brian Elford for his entry in the Best Allotment category.

The 'Best in Category' award winners were:

  • Best Wildlife Garden - Julia and Roy Wake
  • Best Container Garden - Jack Thornber
  • Best Small Front Garden - Lisa Keech
  • Best Large Front Garden - David Jobson
  • Best Pub in Bloom - Gomshall Mill
  • Best Neighbourhood Project - The Therapy Garden
  • Best Allotment - Brian Elford
  • Best School in Bloom - Shalford Pre-School
  • The Mayors Award for Innovation in Horticulture - Sam Cox
  • The Dorothy Walden Themed Award - HMP Send

Take a look at our video (see below) showing the winners collecting their awards and photographs of their entries. Also, take a look at the list of our Guildford in Bloom 2016 winners.

Blooming Schools Winners - 2016 Novel Container Competition

Shalford Pre-School is the overall winner of the 2016 Guildford in Bloom Novel Containers Competition, with their entry theme based on The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

The school was presented with a trophy, a gold award certificate and £20 worth of National Gardening Vouchers. Visit our  Guildford in Bloom Facebook page to view a video of the winning schools and their entries.

Young Awards Winners 2016 The mayor of Guildford Presents an Award 2016 Guildford in Bloom award Winning Pupils

Table of Blooming Schools winners 2016:

Lanesborough Pre-Prep SchoolGold
Worplesdon Pre-PrepGold
Guildford Children's Centre (Hazel Avenue)Silver-Gilt
Shalford Pre-SchoolGold
Jigsaw SchoolGold
Weyfield Primary Academy SchoolGold
Guildford Montessori Nursery SchoolSilver-Gilt
Guildford Children's Centre (York Road)Gold