JUDGES from The Royal Horticultural Society were welcomed to an Oxfordshire town last Thursday for the Thames and Chiltern regional Britain in Bloom Competition.

The garden experts went to a number of locations in Bicester including Garth Park, Sheep Street and Pioneer Square before finishing at Bicester Village.

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They were accompanied by members of Cherwell District Council’s landscape and cleansing teams, as well as volunteers from the Bicester Lions, who are helping to maintain a range of planters along Sheep Street.

Bicester Community Garden caught the eye of the judges and was one of their highlights.

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The small stretch of land on Piggy Lane, previously belonging to the old St Edburg’s School, had become disused, but thanks to the hard work of community volunteers and funding from Cherwell District Council, Sanctuary Housing and Bicester Village, the area is now blooming with life.

Tia Wedgewood-Cathey, vice chairman of Grass Roots Bicester and founder of the Community Garden, said: “It’s taken a few committed people a lot of time and energy to get this area looking this good. We took on the project in April last year and it’s become a lovely place to get together to work, chat and drink plenty of coffee.”

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“This is a place where people come to find peace and make friends. Gardening comes second to that.”

Contractors, Continental Landscapes, also joined the judges to discuss their role in keeping Bicester looking at its best.

The results of the judging will be announced on September, 24 2019 at the awards ceremony held this year in Woodley.