The Mayor visited the winners in their front gardens and in their villages across the Borough.
Prizes were also distributed to runners-up by the parks team.
Alderman Noel Williams said “Our ‘In Bloom’ community competitions are an important way for us to celebrate local people, volunteers, and local businesses, who actively support our ‘In Bloom’ campaign and who dedicate so much time to planting floral displays, improving areas for biodiversity, keeping towns and villages clean and tidy and ‘greening the grey’ by brightening up forgotten corners. All this not only beautifies our Borough, but can help boost the economy and tourism.
“We want to highlight the benefits to physical and mental health and wellbeing which gardening and spending time in the great outdoors can bring to people. Reports are showing that gardens - even balconies or window boxes - play a key part in stress reduction, with other benefits being time to watch and encourage wildlife, connecting with neighbours ‘over the garden gate’, and enjoying the sanctuary of outdoor spaces.
“I am delighted the Mid and East Antrim ‘In Bloom’ community competitions continue to be so well supported by our citizens. We had entries from across the Borough and the time and dedication of entrants is a credit to all involved. Everyone who took part should be very proud of their achievements. Thank you all for your great efforts. Please keep up the good work, as we work together to create a better and more colourful future for everyone.”
33 individuals, businesses and community groups were recognised via the Mid and East Antrim in Bloom Community Awards this year. Best Kept Front Garden winner was Craig Holmes from Cullybackey; the Best Kept Front Container Garden winners were Ruth and Jim Wasson from Carrickfergus. The Best Kept Allotment Garden winner was Debbie Morrow from Larne and the Gardening for Wildlife winner was Nancy McKeown from Greenisland. Island Community Garden in Islandmagee won the Best Community Planting Scheme award and Steady Eddie in Larne won the Best Commercial Premises award.
Best School Gardening Project was awarded to Saint Anthony’s Primary in Larne. Young gardeners from Ballymena, Cullybackey and Larne grew the tallest sunflowers in the Borough - with Zach McClelland’s being the tallest measuring 3m 87cm.
Tori Graham, age 10, from Carrickfergus won the Blooming Creative award for her beautiful drawing of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Carrickfergus Castle. Lynsey Poole from Larne was crowned Volunteer of the Year and the Cullybackey Scouts, Guides & Cadets were awarded Young Volunteers of the Year. Ahoghill In Bloom volunteers were recognised for their “Outstanding Contribution to In Bloom.
The categories ‘Best Kept Front Garden’, ‘Best Kept Front Container Garden’, ‘Best Kept Commercial Premises’ and the ‘Gardening for Wildlife Award’ 2022 was kindly sponsored by Ben Vista Garden Centre, Ballymena. The category ‘Outstanding Contribution to In Bloom’ was kindly sponsored by Wilson’s of Rathkenny this year.