Tag Archives: Alan Titchmarsh

Visit Isle of Wight launches 2017 Wight in Bloom Competition

Isle of Wight gardeners are invited to celebrate their work and take part in this year’s Wight in Bloom competition launched yesterday (8th May 2017) in the The Chelsea Garden at the Earl Mountbatten Hospice, Newport, Isle of Wight.

Wight in Bloom is an annual community-based competition that celebrates the Island’s diverse range of gardens – from the small space to the large tourist attraction.

Sponsored by Red Funnel and organised by Visit Isle of Wight, the competition encourages gardeners to create colourful floral displays that will make the Island a brighter place to live and visit.

This year there will be 11 categories including:  Best Small Front Garden, Best Large Front Garden, Best Commercial Garden, Best Senior Citizen Complex, Best Young People Initiative, Best Community Floral Project, Best Small Tourist Attraction Garden, Best Large Tourist Attraction Garden, Best Creative Use of a Small Space, Best Edible Garden and New for 2017 Best Water Feature.

Gardens can be entered into the competition from 19th May until the closing date of 30th June.  Judging will take place from 3rd to 30th July when a team of local horticultural experts will visit the gardens to decide the first, second, highly commended and overall winner of The Peggy Jarman Trophy.

Wight in Bloom are supporting the Earl Mountbatten Hospice by purchasing EMH sunflower seed packets to give to entrants of this year’s Wight in Bloom competition. It is hoped that these will be grown across the Island during the summer to support the EMH 35th Anniversary and to brighten up gardens and open spaces.

David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight said: “Wight in Bloom is hugely important; it remind us all that a great deal of the Island is on constant show, and we need to look our best all the time. There are many green-fingered experts living on the Isle of Wight, from TV celebrities to groups of eager school children, all of whom help to make the Island look terrific. This annual competition is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on our “Garden Isle” heritage for the benefit of tourists and Island residents alike.”

Entry forms with full details of the categories can be found at the Visitor Centre, The Guildhall, Newport, the Red Funnel website www.redfunnel.co.uk/wightinbloom  Visit Isle of Wight website www.visitwight.pro , the IW County Press Shop and all main Island garden centres.

Wight in Bloom Patron Alan Titchmarsh MBE VMH DL will present the Awards at a garden party ceremony in September.

Wight in Bloom has over the past two years worked with schools to encourage participation into the competition. It has recently developed an initiative to deliver a pilot mentor scheme for new School Garden Coordinators.

Working in collaboration with the RHS Campaign for School Gardening project, Wight in Bloom will assist a team of experienced school garden coordinators and local horticultural experts to provide support to enable less experienced schools to set up a garden project. For further information on how to join the scheme please contact the Wight in Bloom Co-coordinator at bloom@visitwight.org.

Claire Matthews, RHS Campaign for School Gardening said “The RHS Campaign for School Gardening inspires and supports schools to provide children with gardening opportunities to enhance their skills and boost their development. The direct benefits of gardening for children are wide ranging. Registration to the Campaign is free and you can join by logging on to https://schoolgardening.rhs.org.uk/register”.

Kevin George, Red Funnel’s CEO commented “We are delighted to continue our sponsorship of the ever popular Wight in Bloom. The annual competition is a great opportunity for first-time and seasoned gardeners to showcase their skills with categories designed to encourage young people and community groups to take part”.

For further information, please contact Sue Emmerson, Press Officer, Visit Isle of Wight, tel. 01983 521555, ext 29/07766 705672, sue@visitwight.co.uk


Notes to Editors

The image shows LtoR:   Nigel Hartley, CEO of Earl Mountbatten Hospice, Tom Madge, Head of Marketing at Red Funnel, David Thornton CEO of Visit Isle of Wight Ltd and Nicola Bell and Mel, both volunteer gardeners at the Earl Mountbatten Hospice.

Categories for the competition are:

  1. BEST SMALL FRONT GARDEN (Under 15 metre frontage)
  2. BEST LARGE FRONT GARDEN (Over 15 metre frontage)
  3. BEST COMMERCIAL GARDEN (Public House, Restaurant, Shops, Café, Business, Hotel/Guest Accommodation/Self Catering/ Caravan sites)
  4. BEST SENIOR CITIZEN COMPLEX (Private and Public Sector, Healing and Meditative gardens)
  5. BEST YOUNG PEOPLE PROJECT (Schools/youth groups)
  6. BEST COMMUNITY FLORAL PROJECT (Community Groups, Parish or town councils, High Streets, Church Grounds)
  7. BEST SMALL TOURIST ATTRACTION GARDEN (free to enter and paid admission tourist attractions are eligible)
  8. BEST LARGE TOURIST ATTRACTION GARDEN (free to enter and paid admission tourist attractions are eligible)
  9. BEST CREATIVE USE OF A SMALL SPACE (window box, balcony, hanging basket, recycled objects for containers, vertical planting)
  10. BEST WATER FEATURE (Includes area directly surrounding pond/water feature/fountain only) NEW for 2017
  11. BEST EDIBLE GARDEN (mix of flowers, vegetables and herbs, can be a source of food and a decorative display).

+  Overall Winner of the The Peggy Jarman Trophy

About Visit Isle of Wight

Working in partnership with Visit England, Visit Isle of Wight Ltd (VIOW) is responsible for developing tourism and attracting more visitors to the Isle of Wight.   As well as the consumer website (www.visitisleofwight.co.uk) the DMO also operates a small industry website containing recent research and tourism news along with links to Visit England reports and opportunities: www.visitwight.org

About Red Funnel

Red Funnel is the original Isle of Wight ferry company with roots tracing back to 1820. Based in the UK port of Southampton, Red Funnel carries 2.3m passengers and over 800,000 vehicles on its ferry route between the UK port of Southampton and East Cowes and 1.1m passengers between Southampton and West Cowes on its Red Jet Hi-Speed service.

In addition to ferry travel, Red Funnel is the only cross-Solent operator to offer ferry inclusive bonded holiday accommodation, attraction tickets, festival and event tickets and activity packages. Sub-brands include ‘Red Jet’ (the Hi-Speed passenger only ferry service serving West Cowes) and two food & beverage brands, ‘Steam Coffee Company’ and ‘ReFuel’.

The Company is a founder member of Visit Isle of Wight Ltd, the Island’s not for profit destination management organisation and Red Funnel sponsors or supports most of the Island’s premier events including the IW Festival, Cowes Week, Isle of Arts, IW Literary Festival, IW Newport Jazz Festival, Ventnor Fringe Festival and Wolverton Manor Garden Show as well as a wide range of community and niche interest events.

Red Funnel’s 2017 Charity of the Year is Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance.

For further Red Funnel press information contact:

Isle of Wight/Hants
Amy Grinstead
Carswell Gould
023 8023 8001

About RHS Campaign for School Gardening

The RHS Campaign for School Gardening inspires and supports schools to provide children with gardening opportunities to enhance their skills and boost their development.

RHS Campaign for School Gardening work with schools has shown that the direct benefits of gardening for children are wide ranging:

  • Improves physical and mental well-being
  • Builds life skills such as confidence, teamwork and communication
  • Enhances literacy, numeracy and oracy skills
  • Enriches the entire curriculum from science, maths and geography, to art, design and languages
  • Encourages a better and healthier lifestyle
  • Teaches about the environment and sustainability
  • Helps young people engage with their surroundings better and develop a sense of responsibility




Green-fingered Islanders came together at a ‘red carpet’ style awards ceremony, held at The Botanic Gardens in Ventnor today (Wednesday, August 19th), to find out how their horticultural and floral displays had been judged in this year’s Wight in Bloom campaign.

Managed by Visit Isle of Wight (VIOW) and co-funded by the DMO (Destination Marketing Organisation), Red Funnel Ferriesand a range of sponsors, Wight in Bloom 2015 is being developed as a curtain-raiser to VIOW’s Garden Isle campaign, which will coincide with Visit England’s Year of the Garden 2016.

Wight in Bloom is open to all Island residents and organisations with the aim to make the Island a brighter, greener place to live and visit.

The awards were presented by the celebrity gardener and TV presenter Alan Titchmarsh, who was revealed as Patron of the newly introduced horticultural competition at a “floating garden” launch event held on board Red Funnel’s Red Eagle car ferry in May.

The results come after judges visited Island gardens earlier this summer. Entries were shortlisted for one of the nine awards on offer and judged by a team of volunteers that included Island horticultural businesses, as well as Peggy Jarman, Honorary President of Wight in Bloom.

Winners in each category received gardening vouchers and tools, sponsored by local garden centres and tourism businesses, in recognition for the skill and pride they displayed in their gardens and neighbourhoods.

Ventnor Botanic Gardens were the venue sponsor, while Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare provided gift bags containing beauty products for all of the main winners.  The live music performances were kindly supplied by Classic Isle.  There was also a prize for the overall winner who was presented with a glass trophy, courtesy of The Needles Landmark Attraction.

With more than 100 entrants this year, including small and large front gardens, schools, community groups, towns and villages, the results announced at the prestigious awards ceremony were “blooming” marvellous in each of the nine categories.


Category 1 – Best Small Front Garden

Sponsored by Care in the Garden, Wootton

1st                                 David Mansfield, Binstead

2nd                                Carol Pryke, Binstead

Highly Commended     Pamela Toms, Northwood


Category 2 – Best Large Front Garden

Sponsored by Thompson Plant & Garden Centre

1st                                Hilary Wellsted, Bembridge

2nd                               Mr & Mrs Denness, Sandown

Highly Commended    Mrs J Hinton, Niton


Category 3 – Best Public House Garden

Sponsored by Medina Garden Centre

1st                                The Buddle Inn, Niton

2nd                               The Dairyman’s Daughter, Arreton

Highly Commended    Vernon Cottage Tearoom, Tavern and Restaurant


Category 4 – Best Accommodation Garden

Sponsored by Busy Bee Garden Centre

1st                                The Havelock

2nd                                Bembridge Coast Hotel

Highly Commended     Heatherleigh Guest House


Category 5 – Best Senior Citizen Complex, Nursing Home, Care Home

Sponsored by Jubilee Garden Centre

1st                                 Chemotherapy Garden, NHS Trust, St Marys Hospital

2nd                                 Knights Court, Ventnor

Highly Commended      The Briars, Sandown


Category 6 – Best Young People Initiative

Sponsored by Honnor & Jeffrey Garden Centre

1st                                  Bembridge C of E Primary

2nd                                 The Children’s House Montessori

Highly Commended      Northwood Primary School


Category 7 – Best Community Floral Project

Sponsored by Ager Farm Nursery

1st                                   Aspire, Trinity Building, Ryde

2nd                                   East Cowes Floating Bridge and Carosal

– Care in the Garden, Wootton

Highly Commended        War Memorial Gardens Bembridge

–      Bembridge Weeders


Category 8 – Best Tourist Attraction Garden – Large  

Sponsored by Forest View Nursery                                

1st                                   Mottistone Gardens – National Trust

2nd       Joint                    Osborne House – English Heritage

2nd       Joint                    Ventnor Botanic Gardens


Best Tourist Attraction Garden – Small 

Sponsored by Forest View Nursery

 1st                                     Rylstone Crazy Golf & Tea Gardens 

 2nd                                     The Old Smithy, Godshill

Highly Commended          Model Village, Godshill


Overall Winner             

Sponsored by The Needles Landmark Attraction

Aspire, Trinity Building, Ryde


Alan Titchmarsh MBE, VMH (Victoria Medal of Honour RHS), said:  “Today it is my pleasure and privilege to present these awards to such worthy winners. You have produced such stunning plant and floral displays which delight so many people on a daily basis.

“All our winners would, I am sure, have put their skills to good use without this competition but, thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, we are able to publicly reward our green- fingered Islanders and say thank you.”

David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight, said: “Alan’s involvement played a huge part in the promotion and success of the campaign and has meant that entries increased by more than 30% this year.  This is a stunning result and I would like to say ‘thank you’ to everyone who made a special effort to make the Island look its best.”

Simon Dabell, Chairman of Visit Isle of Wight, who welcomed guests to the awards ceremony, said: “Each individual garden plays its part in making the Island an even lovelier place, both for people who live here and for visitors.

“This year’s competition is particularly special as Visit Isle of Wight will be continuing to put the Garden Isle landscape at the heart of its marketing message in 2016”.

Kevin George, Chief Executive of Red Funnel, said: “Red Funnel is delighted to be sponsoring Wight in Bloom for a second year. The competition has brought vibrancy and colour to the visitor experience and we would like to congratulate the winners and runners-up as well as thank all those who entered”.


Notes to Editors

Images attached:

L to R – Kevin George, Chief Executive of Red Funnel Ferries, with the team from Aspire, receiving their award from Alan Titchmarsh.

For further information, please contact: Sue Emmerson, Press Officer, tel: 01983 521555 extension 29, 07766 705672, E-mail: sue@visitwight.org

Judging criteria for the competition is based on a points system and marked on:

Overall impression

  • General design and layout
  • Range and use of plants displayed
  • Use of flower and foliage; colour in design
  • Presentation and maintenance
  • Innovation, creativity in design, colours etc


The Overall Winner was selected from the 9 winners of each category, and was the garden with the highest points scored.

Ten Reasons To Visit The Isle of Wight This Summer

The Isle of Wight – proven in the past to be one of the sunniest places in the whole of the UK – has a hot summer season of festivals, events and activities for its visitors to enjoy this year.  Here’s just ten reasons to spend some time there this summer:

1. The Carnival Capital of the UK

The Isle of Wight is home to the oldest carnival in the UK.  Ryde Carnival was first held in 1888, following a highly successful and hugely popular event of the previous year, which marked the Queen’s Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria who attended the event herself.  This year’s Ryde Carnival takes place on Thursday, August 27th.  All the Island’s major towns host similar carnivals, and have also been joined on the summer calendar by Bestival’s Carnival Fancy Dress Parade.

2. Dinosaur Isle

Named the “Dinosaur Capital of Britain” in 2013, the Isle of Wight is the perfect destination for anyone inspired by the latest Jurassic World movie.  Download the Dinosaur Isle app to follow in the footsteps of giants and have photographs taken with them, or head to Compton Bay or Yaverland beaches to search for fossils.  Dinosaur Isle at Sandown, meanwhile, is an interactive museum with life-sized reconstructions, some of which move, that also houses over 1,000 fossils.

3. Sailing Isle

The Isle of Wight’s world-famous Cowes Week is scheduled to take place this year from August 8th to 15th.   But Visit Isle of Wight and Universal Yacht Charter have also joined forces to create a new Bike & Sail experience for the summer.  This new short active break is expected to attract interest amongst groups of friends, families and perhaps businesses looking for something slightly different.

4. Music Isle

Having already successfully staged the latest edition of The Isle of Wight Festival, the Island will be staging v-Dub between July 23th and 27th, followed by one of the world’s best music festivals, Bestival, from September 10th to 13th.

5. Isle of Arts

Each July, Isle of Wight artists and crafts-people open their studios, homes or exhibit in public venues over two open studios weekends.  This gives visitors the opportunity to meet local artists, see their work and find out more about the techniques they use and the passions which inspire them.  Open Studios is a free event and offers the chance to view and purchase a great range of work including painting, sculpture, print-making, photography, textiles, jewellery and ceramics.  Open Studios will be held in West Wight from July 17th to 20th and in East Wight from July 24th to 27th.

6. Garden Isle

The newly introduced “Wight in Bloom” has as its Patron Alan Titchmarsh, and will result in a garden party/awards ceremony this August.  Perennially popular with green fingered visitors, the Island can lay claim to Osborne House, Ventnor Botanic Gardens, and Appuldurcombe House with all of its Capability Brown associations.  A new Isle of Wight Gardens Trail is also planned for launch this summer.

7. Taste of the Wight

Rachel Koo will be the special guest at this year’s Garlic Festival over the weekend of August 15th/16th; the Isle of Wight’s annual Sweetcorn Fayre will this year take place on September 26th to 29th; and the Bembridge Harbour Food Festival is set for September 25th/26th.  A full listing of Taste of the Wight events can be found here.

8. Attractions Isle

Children will enjoy the Island’s mix of attractions this summer, including Punch & Judy at Osborne, the Knight School at Carisbrooke Castle, The Railway Folk at the IW Steam Railway, Dino Nights at Blackgang Chine and Music & Magic in the Skies at The Needles Landmark Attraction with entertainment, fun and interaction for the whole family.   There are also lots of outdoor nature activities like nature trails, bug hunts as well as lizard safaris at Ventnor Botanic Gardens – and a unique rockpooling opportunity to discover the amazing array of marine life that has made a home Under the Pier – bring a net and a bucket if you have one and make sure to wear wellies or waterproof shoes. Expect to get a bit splashed!

 9. Pure Wight

Adventurous visitors should consider Compton or Freshwater Bay for surf lessons, or kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding to hidden caves and Victorian forts.  For a thrilling view of the coastline, take a high-speed RIB ride around The Needles or paraglide from a hillside near the unspoilt chalk cliffs of the West Wight. Rewarding views and a treetop hammock are on offer for those who conquer technical tree climbing, whilst those searching for something a bit different should consider climbing into a three metre inflatable ball and ‘zorbing’ their way down a hillside. Or if G-forces are not your thing, stick to two wheels and glide around a Segway course.  For these and more Pure Wight adventures, visit http://purewight.co.uk/

10. Bicycle Island

The family-friendly Red Squirrel Trail has been tailored for cyclists who prefer car-free cycling on mainly flat, gentle routes.  Stop-off at golden beaches and cafes passing woodland and the wild flower grassland of Alverstone Mead nature reserve.   Bring your own bike – Island Coasterbuses can take up to six bikes each – or why not hire one?   Routfifty7 bike hire are based just 300yds from Shanklin railway station and lead directly on the Red Squirrel Trail as well as the Chalk Ridge Extreme Trail and the Round the Island Taste Trail.   More routes and bike hire companies can be found at http://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/bicycle-island


For all other information about the Isle of Wight, visit www.visitisleofwight.co.uk.





For further information, please contact:

Sue Emmerson, Visit Isle of Wight Press Officer

Tel: 07766 705672

E-mail: sue@visitwight.co.uk


Celebrity gardener and TV presenter, Alan Titchmarsh MBE, VMH (Victoria Medal of Honour RHS) has been revealed as Patron of “Wight in Bloom”, an annual horticultural competition which is open to all Island residents, with the aim to make the Island a brighter, greener place to live and visit.

Sponsored by Visit Isle of Wight (VIOW) – who have taken over management of the competition alongside Peggy Jarman – and Red Funnel Ferries, Wight in Bloom 2015 is being developed as a curtain-raiser to VIOW’s Garden Isle campaign, which will coincide with Visit England’s Year of the Garden 2106.


What:               A “floating” garden cocktail party, provided by Ventnor Botanic Gardens, will take place on board Red Funnel’s Red Eagle car ferry to launch Wight in Bloom 2015.

In attendance:David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight, who will announce plans for Wight in Bloom 2015, Jonathan Green, Marketing & Communications Director, Red Funnel Ferries, Peggy Jarman, organiser Wight in Bloom, Mike Fitt OBE, Wight in Bloom Campaign Advisor, along with past winners of the Wight in Bloom competition.

Peggy Jarman who has been running Wight in Bloom for many years is retiring and will be made Honorary President.

(In addition, Simon Goodenough, AHRHS (Associate of Honour awarded by the RHS) has agreed to become a Special Advisor of Wight in Bloom).

Where:            On board the Red Eagle car ferry.

When   :           Tuesday, 26th May

Time:               From 6pm – meet Sue Emmerson, Visit Isle of Wight, in the Red Funnel ticket office, Trinity Road, East Cowes. Closest postcode PO32 6RA.

6.30pm –`car ferry departs East Cowes with invited guests

7pm – photocall on board ferry.

8pm – ferry arrives back at East Cowes

Please e-mail michelle@visitwight if you would like to attend this event.

Root out the gardening gloves, go potty with those plants and get growing for the return of Wight in Bloom in 2015.

Residents, schools, businesses, community groups, towns and villages on the Island are invited to don their gardening gloves and take part in Wight in Bloom.

The annual competition is open to all Island residents and organisations to show the rest of the Island what they’ve been doing to brighten up their garden and improve the local environment.

To be in with a chance of winning, keen gardeners can choose to enter one of 8 main categories:

1          Best Small Front Garden

2          Best Large Front Garden

3          Best Public House

4          Best Accommodation Garden

5          Best Senior Citizen Complex/Nursing Home/Care Home

6          Best Young People Initiative

7          Best Community Floral Project

8          Best Tourist Attraction Garden

The 2015 event is organised and sponsored by Visit Isle of Wight and Red Funnel Ferries who are adding their support and financial backing to the event to help create a vibrant and welcoming environment for visitors.

The organisers hope that the appointment of popular celebrity gardener Alan Titchmarsh as Patron of Wight in Bloom will emphasise the Island’s green credentials and help inspire Islanders to get involved in Wight in Bloom this year.

David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight, said: “We’re honoured that Alan has agreed to be our Patron of Wight in Bloom and now plan a major push to encourage more tourism businesses and retailers on the Island to show a bit of flower power this summer.

“The success of the Wight in Bloom is testament to all the hard work and dedication by the organiser, Peggy Jarman, who over the years has worked with Island communities, businesses and local individuals to help create colourful displays at entrances to villages, around bus shelters, in pub gardens and in residents’ own front gardens.”

Peggy Jarman said:  “I am thrilled and delighted that Visit Isle of Wight and Red Funnel have stepped in to support the competition.

“Whether you are a novice gardener or an expert, everyone is very welcome to enter and make our Island a greener and more colourful place”.

Judging will take place in July and entry is free.  An awards ceremony will be held in August, where prizes for the lucky winners – one for each of the 8 categories and an overall winner – will hopefully be presented by Alan Titchmarsh.

Alan Titchmarsh said: “The Island is bursting with natural beauty from its wildflower cliff walks, bluebell woods and orchid-rich fields, to its cottage gardens, horticultural shows and wide variety of public and private gardens.

“I’m therefore honoured to be Patron of Wight in Bloom and look forward to seeing who it discovers next.”

Green-fingered Islanders can join in the floral fun by completing the entry form which will be available in the 22nd May edition of the Isle of Wight County Press.


For further information, please contact: Sue Emmerson, Press Officer, Tel: 01983 201048, 07766 705672, E-mail: sue@visitwight.org