A TREE-planting frenzy across Huntingdonshire heralded the start of the 2011 In Bloom campaign last week.

Launch of Anglia In Bloom.

(front l-r) Aimee and Ayesha from Cromwell Park School.

St Neots Mayor and Mayoress Gordon and Peggy Thorpe, joined volunteers from St Neots in Bloom to plant three silver birch trees at St Neots Mobile Home Park, in Howitts Lane.

The Huntingdonshire District Council-owned site has a rectangular green space in the middle where, until Saturday, there were no trees.

Alison Pearson, chairman of St Neots in Bloom, said: “We hope the residents of the mobile home park will enjoy watching the trees grow. There should be an opportunity to plants bulbs around them in the autumn, which will provide a splash of colour next spring.”

The planting event was also the launch of the group’s environment campaign - the volunteer members hope to retain the town’s silver-gilt standard in that section of the competition.

The campaign encourages the planting of sustainable floral displays, clean and tidy public spaces and community involvement.

St Neots in Bloom is urging all residents to help by keeping their property litter and weed free. For the more green-fingered, there is also an opportunity to take part in the group’s best front garden competition in early July.

Huntingdon in Bloom kicked off their 2011 campaign by planting 400 saplings in Hinchingbrooke Country Park on Friday, with help from pupils of Cromwell Park School.

The trees are part of a bid, spearheaded by RHS Britain in Bloom and the Woodland Trust, and supported by the United Nation’s 2011 International Year of Forests, to plant 200,000 saplings across the UK.

A further 100 trees were planted by Huntingdon Town Council workers at the Jubilee Fields Sports Ground and a hornbeam tree, donated by Barcham Trees of Ely was planted to celebrate Huntingdon’s success in achieving Best Entry for 2010 in the Anglia in Bloom competition.

Peter Jackson, Chairman of Huntingdon in Bloom said: “This is the start of an exciting year for Huntingdon, culminating in the Britain in Bloom judging in August. With the support of the community we are looking forward to bringing an award back to Huntingdon.”

St Ives in Bloom was officially launched by Mayor David Hodge on Monday at HDC’s eco-house in St Audrey Lane. Joining Mr Hodge on the day were community volunteers who had planted thousands of daffodil bulbs over the winter.

Having entered for the past four years, 2010 saw the town retain its Silver Gilt Award from 2009, but with a much higher score.

This year St Ives is going for gold, and the In Bloom Committee is keen to involve as wide a section of the community as possible.

Meanwhile while most organisations are gearing up for competition, Moor in Bloom members have already scooped a gong as finalists in the Community Award category of the Keep Britain Tidy Network Awards earlier this month.

The group picked up the highly recommended award for their efforts encouraging Oxmoor residents to keep their gardens tidy, and for their work with schools, residential care homes, churches, businesses and the local youth club.

HDC ranger, Brian Gardner said: “It’s really great for the Oxmoor area to come so near to winning this prestigious award and to be highly commended. The local community has worked really hard to bring this project together and make the environment they live in something to be proud of.”

INFORMATION: Entry forms for the St Neots garden competition will be available during May and June. Organisations or individuals who want to donate plants to Huntingdon in Bloom for the Hinchingbrooke Hospital garden restoration scheme or have other project ideas should e-mail huntingdoninbloom@btinternet.com. For details on how to enter the St Ives in Bloom competition e-mail info@stivesinbloom.co.uk or call 01480 388929.