Tour tips

Here are some hints and tips to help you make the most of your Bloom judging day

Whilst you and your group may naturally be nervous, this is also your moment to show off your incredible hard work. Here is some expert guidance to help you make your Bloom judging day run smoothly.

  • In addition to the itinerary, a map that clearly highlights the judging route should also be provided, so that the judges can understand the scope of your activity.
  • If transport is required, make the necessary arrangements well in advance. Vehicles should allow the judges fairly unrestricted views. Make sure you know who will travel with whom and whether more than one vehicle will be needed.

Pick some community representatives 

  • The judges will need to be accompanied throughout the tour, please keep this to a maximum of four people, each of whom should be able to answer questions. Decide in advance who your representatives will be and have at least one person in reserve in case of emergency.
  • Allow time within your tour for comfort breaks.
  • Remember, every part of your route is subject to judging – that includes the places you stop and the places you pass through in between.
  • Make the most of every opportunity – perhaps have display boards with photos at the starting/finishing points and volunteers who have worked on special features at those places to greet judges and illustrate the level of community participation and support.

Photo opportunity 

  • Ensure that there is a photo-opportunity for the press, if they have been invited. The judges are generally happy to answer questions and be photographed, but try to keep this to one location.
  • When preparing your itinerary, bear in mind that if you can cover the route alone in an hour, on the day of judging it could take at least one-and-a-half to two hours. If you are using vehicles, valuable time can be lost getting in and out of cars. It is beneficial to organise a mock judging tour with two members of your group, on the same day and at the same time that the judges will be visiting.
  • When planning the route, go through the marking sheet to ensure you are showing the judges everything they will want to see. Make sure you organise your tour relative to how the marks are allocated. Try to avoid taking the judges to places which do not provide evidence of at least one of the judging criteria, making the most of the time that you have.
  • Plan for all weather conditions. The judges travel very light and do not generally bring umbrellas with them. Likewise, in hot weather, cool drinks are greatly appreciated.

The judges would enjoy meeting volunteers and participants 

  • Allow some additional time at certain stops so that the judges can meet some of the volunteers, members of the business community and young people who have been involved in your campaign.
  • Your tour, portfolio and presentation should all complement one another; the judges don't need to see the same things on the tour as there are in your portfolio and vice versa. Having said that, some overlap is to be expected, particularly with smaller entries.
  • Ensure that any dignitaries or key figures that you feel should meet the judges can be available at either your presentation, press call or other appropriate stops on your tour route.
  • Enjoy it, this is the day that you have you been waiting for, enjoy taking the judges around your community and showing off all your hard work!

Get involved

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.