Centenary tree planting helps Borough’s competition chances to bloom

The Deputy Mayor of Oadby and Wigston is the latest to plant one of the University of Leicester’s 100 trees, which celebrates the institution’s Centenary year. 

Councillor Jeffrey Kaufman planted a Japanese Maple at the University of Leicester Botanic Garden on Wednesday with President and Vice Chancellor, Professor Nishan Canagarajah.

The University’s 16-acre garden, located in Glebe Road, Oadby, forms a key highlight of the borough of Oadby and Wigston’s efforts to impress in this year’s East Midlands in Bloom competition. 

The competition is designed to encourage communities across the East Midlands to work together and improve their surroundings. 

Areas across the region are not only assessed on their floral displays but also on their trees and shrubbery. Judges also consider whether an area is litter-free and the sustainability of the wider environment. 

For the last 10 years, the University of Leicester’s Botanic Garden has helped the Borough achieve the competition’s top honour in its category, a gold award. 

Although the results of the competition will not be revealed until September, it is hoped that Oadby and Wigston will be selected as an area to represent the East Midlands in the national Britain in Bloom competition. 

The Botanic Garden, which is free for the public to explore, was founded in 1921, but did not open at its current Glebe Road site until 1949.

(L-R) Deputy Mayor Councillor Jeffrey Kaufman, Oadby and Wigston Borough Council CEO Anne Court and University President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Nishan Canagarajah plant a tree at the University of Leicester Botanic Garden.

Dr Richard Gornall, Director of the Botanic Garden & Curator of the Herbarium at the University of Leicester, said: “We are thankful to the borough of Wigston and Oadby for its donation to the garden which marks the centenary of the University of Leicester.

“The Botanic Garden itself was founded a century ago and has been an oasis of calm for city residents for generations. It attracts thousands of visitors a year, including 11,000 school pupils on educational trips, and contributes significantly to city dwellers’ wellbeing.

“I am sure the Centenary tree will be a focal point for garden visitors over the years to come.”

Simon Lucas, Chair of Pride of the Borough, said: “We’re incredibly proud of our entry this year and we hope that the results reflect the amount of community involvement and effort which is behind not just the wonderful displays, but also our dedication to improving and protecting our environment.”

Councillor David Carter, Secretary of Pride of the Borough, said: “Thank you to all of our members who have been involved in preparing this year’s entry.

“A huge amount of effort goes into maintaining our public spaces year-round and putting together our entry would be impossible without all of this hard work.

“It is terrific to see so many people come together to take pride in their borough and make it look fantastic, not only for the competition but also for all residents who can enjoy the results year-round.”