Launched by sponsors Visit Isle of Wight and Red Funnel the start of ‘Wight in Bloom 2018’ was announced aboard one of Red Funnel’s three car ferries-Red Eagle.

Kevin George CEO Red Funnel, who will step up to the post of Chairman next month, said Red Eagle was the final vessel to be refurbished and now boasts a Signature Lounge where the ‘Wight in Bloom’ launch took place. He added that Red Funnel likes to support events on the Island as well as using Island firms in the building of the new Red Jet 7 which is being constructed in East Cowes prior to coming into service in early July.

Visit Isle of Wight is the other main sponsor of ‘Wight in Bloom’ this year with David Thornton appointed as co-ordinator for the competition.

Will Myers the new Managing Director of VIOW said ‘Wight in Bloom’ was an excellent way to engage with the Island community. He maintained that the Island was an amazing place to come and visit as well as a special place to live.

Ian Boyd, who heads up Arc Consulting showed a display of ‘Natural History’ and explained that the choice of plants in gardens is crucial to the good welfare of wildlife. He pointed out that for caterpillars to successfully become butterflies they need to complete their full life circle by living in an environment of the right plants.

Good gardens are not just about flowers or lawns but encouraging wildlife which will hibernate in hollow stems if they are provided or could find a manmade home which had been made by drilling holes in any suitable timber. There are many wild bees at a garden site in Newchurch and they have been encouraged by providing the right conditions.

Ian Boyd with part of his ‘Natural History’ collection.

Entry forms for ‘Wight in Bloom’ are now available islandwide, including garden centres and entry can be made on line at  https://wightinbloom.org   Entries close on 30th June.

Judging will take place during July and the awards will be presented by ‘Wight in Bloom’ patron Alan Titchmarsh MBE in September.

Prizes include trophies, gift vouchers, ferry travel vouchers and gardening tools.