Friendship stories

Andrew Jackson has made long-lasting friendships by being involved with Britain in Bloom

Andrew’s friendship story

Andrew Jackson has been involved with Britain in Bloom for decades and has formed many friendships that have greatly enhanced his life.

Bloom has had a major influence on the quality of my life over the years. I grew up, and still live, in a village that had been entering the competition since 1964 so I was always aware of Bloom throughout my formative years. When I started work as an apprentice gardener for the local council in 1984, I worked in Ryton and Whickham, both regional and regular national entries at the time.

In 1990, I became involved with Durham in Bloom, for many years as coordinator until my early retirement in 2022. During this time, I became a regional judge and had the immense privilege of being a national finals judge between 2009 and 2017. I served as regional chairman from 2018 – 2022 and as regional representative on the Bloom Federation. The Bloom Federation brings the 17 Bloom Regions & Nations along with the RHS together with a vision to transform communities across the UK, by supporting and inspiring local people to garden together.

“Throughout all of this, it has been the people and the many individual friendships formed that have greatly enhanced my quality of life.”

From working with volunteers in numerous Bloom groups, to my fellow regional and national judges, to the privilege of visiting so many fantastic communities, both regionally and nationally, to see the wonderful work being undertaken to enhance the environment by so many dedicated people; to the marvellous RHS staff.

Floral displays in Durham city centre

Wharton Park's community garden has year-round interest and colour

“I have come into contact with many wonderful individuals over the years and formed many lasting friendships with people I would never have met if it had not been for Bloom.”

This also includes a good number of my horticultural heroes that I have always admired during my career as a professional horticulturist.

So, for me personally, Bloom has always provided me with a most pleasant and attractive local environment in which to both live and work. It has given me the gift of many kind and long-lasting acquaintances and friendships with a wide range of people who I would never have had as part of my life otherwise.

“My life has been greatly enriched and enhanced by Bloom and for this I will forever be eternally grateful. Here’s to the next 60 years!”

Find out more about Durham in Bloom by watching this video on our YouTube channel.

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.