THE 2012 Translink Ulster in Bloom Competition has been officially launched with a call to action urging local gardeners to plant more pollinator flowers and help support biodiversity.
The 34th year of the annual horticulture competition has attracted 142 entries representing councils, community groups, businesses, bus and rail stations all preparing to impress judges with beautiful plant and floral presentations.
To launch this year’s event, Translink is giving away thousands of free ‘Stock’ pollinator flower seed packets at bus and rail stations across Northern Ireland.
Speaking at the official launch at Cultra Manor in North Down, Translink Group Chief Executive Catherine Mason explained: “The Translink Ulster in Bloom Competition celebrates and rewards the efforts of those people who grow and maintain exquisite plant and floral displays.
“2012 is a flagship year for Northern Ireland. It is important that our cities, towns and villages look their best and leave a lasting positive impression with the thousands of visitors who will be sampling all we have to offer.
“The work undertaken by Ulster in Bloom participants also protects and supports local biodiversity and this year, as part of our company-wide Go Eco drive, we are launching the Translink Ulster in Bloom Big Seeds Giveaway.
“The Royal Horticultural Society has reported a decline in bee numbers - a serious concern considering the important role they play in the pollination of flowers and fruits.
“We have chosen to giveaway ‘Stock’ seeds, a type of pollinator flower which supports bees and the transfer of pollen between plants. We would encourage our passengers to pick up a free packet of seeds from their local station and help support local biodiversity,” said Catherine.
Councillor Freda Donnelly, Northern Ireland Local Government Association, said: “I would like to pay tribute to the Council Parks and Technical Services Departments, the Local In-Bloom Committees, the Business Community and the many residents for their ongoing participation and valued contribution to the Translink Ulster in Bloom competition.
“Their interest, enthusiasm and high standards of cleanliness and horticulture are to be admired and encouraged. This combined effort has made a notable improvement to the environment and townscapes right across Northern Ireland, which I applaud and I know the Northern Ireland Local Government Association is most keen to encourage.”
Alistair McGowan, board member, Northern Ireland Tourist Board, said: “For over three decades Ulster in Bloom has played a unique role in creating pride in our cities, towns and villages right across Northern Ireland. The competition generates a spirit of community and encourages an important interest in our environment.”