The market towns of Uppingham, Oakham and Bourne last week came under the scrutiny of East Midlands in Bloom judges.
The In Bloom committees were working hard in the run-up to the judging and are now keeping their fingers crossed ahead of the result being announced in September.
Uppingham was first to face the judges on Wednesday last week.
Judges were taken on a tour of the town, including a visit to The Crown Inn, which is nominated in the best hotel floral display award, and 66 Stockerston Road, the nomination for the Frank Constable best front garden.
It was followed by a presentation lunch at Uppingham Cricket Club.
Last year, Uppingham received a gold award, meaning entry into the national Britain in Bloom competition, and chairman Pam Dalby said they were hoping to mirror this success and better the silver gilt award they received in the national competition.
And then on Thursday, it was Oakham’s turn.
Chairman of Oakham in Bloom Chris Morten said there was “really no way of knowing” how it went.
He said: “We’re obviously very optimistic but the judges don’t give anything away.”
He said the committee were hopeful of receiving gold as they have in the past.
Chris said highlights during the judges route included the bed at Lands’ End, as well as the premises in the running for special awards - 86 Burley Road for best front garden; Lands’ End Way for best business premises and The Wheatsheaf for best public house.
Afterwards, there was a lunch at Rutland County Museum. Chris added: “All we can do now is wait.”
And in Bourne, Ian Sismey, Bourne Town Council clerk, welcomed the judges at about 2pm on Thursday last week before they took a tour around the town.
But the committee will have to wait to see if they have bettered last year’s silver gilt award.
Ian said: “As far as we know the judging went well but of course, we’ll have to wait until September to see how well.
“It was a gorgeous sunny day which I think makes a big difference as it literally shows the town in its best light.”
He said the community involvement had improved this year in the run-up to the judging and he hopes to see this continue to improve in future years.
Even the mayor of Bourne Colin Pattison was out and about in his overalls and wielding his strimmer, in a bid to tidy up the Elsea Park and Stamford Hill roundabouts.
Ian was particularly pleased with how Bedehouse Bank looked and the town’s planters.
The Meals on Wheels team from the Butterfield Centre also coordinated an open gardens competition this year and the judges got a chance to look at some of the nicest gardens in the town.
Ian said: “We were trying to show the judges different things and to show that we do take their comments on board and do what we can to improve the town.
“The planters at the entrances to the town looked better than they had ever done and I think in terms of community involvement, it’s getting better every year.
“But what we really need going forward is a much bigger committee.
“We always get encouraging comments back from the judges and as long as we keep improving, that’s all we hope for.”
If you would like to get involved in the Bourne in Bloom efforts, get in touch with Ian at the town hall on 01778 426123.