Judges from across Europe took a closer look at Edinburgh’s parks, streets and gardens yesterday on a tour of the city. The panel assessed the capital for this year’s Entente Florale, Europe’s biggest environmental competition.
This is the first time the capital has represented the UK in the prestigious awards, following it’s success in Britain in Bloom earlier this year.
Each summer more than 22,000 cities, towns and villages enter the contest, which judges entries on horticultural achievement, community involvement and responsibility for the environment.
The jury spent a full day in the city centre, scoring Edinburgh on everything from the built environment in the High Street, community input in Dunbar’s Close Garden and the Cowgate Nursery’s outdoor learning strategy.
Lord Provost Donald Wilson will host the judges, who have travelled from as far afield as Austria and Croatia, during their stay. He said: “We are honoured to be representing the UK in the Entente Florale this year and are delighted to be able to showcase the hard work carried out by the Council, partners and local groups to the jury.
“It’s not hard to see why Edinburgh is such a popular place to live and visit, and this is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the natural and built environment that makes the city what it is.”
Among the criteria to be assessed for the award are sustainability, landscape, green spaces and tourism and leisure.
As well as the management and design of the city’s parks and green spaces, judges focus on aspects like the city’s active travel strategy, its attitude to recycling, tourism and leisure and the work of bodies like Historic Scotland, Essential Edinburgh, University of Edinburgh and various community and Friends of Parks groups.
Among the initiatives visited by the judges was the Grassmarket Community Project, a charity which works with homeless and vulnerable people to develop skills in horticulture, cooking and woodwork.
Workshop manager Tommy Steel explained: “We involve participants to grow a herb garden in Greyfriar’s Kirk and we use the herbs in our training kitchen. By developing their skills in these areas they’re also developing self esteem and confidence.
“Being part of Entente Florale gives them a focus. Taking part in the judging day has given them a real sense of achievement, as they see the fruits of their labour.”
Find out more about Edinburgh’s involvement in the Entente Florale on the Council website, http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk
Bon chance, Edimbourg!