MALVERN came under the scrutiny of eagle-eyed judges twice in a week as part of the Britain in Bloom contest.

The two inspections provided the culmination of months of effort by volunteers and council staff, who have been labouring over plant beds and floral displays to make the town a bloom of beauty.

Judges from Heart of England in Bloom made the first visit last Friday (July 25), with MP Harriett Baldwin among the special guests.

She said: "I've always said Malvern is a very beautiful place to visit, so I'm sure that the judges will be impressed.

“The gardens are beautiful and I want to pay tribute to all the people who work so hard to make Malvern look so stunning.

“I want to wish the town all the best in the competition and I hope we're able to celebrate some good news in the near future.”

The judges also paid a visit to the George Bernard Shaw mulberry tree recently planted in Priory Park, where they met Di Foster of Malvern, Australia.

She explained that the tree is a descendant of a mulberry planted by the famous playwright in July 1936 to mark his 80th birthday. The original blew down in 2000, but Friends of Malvern Springs and Wells discovered that cuttings had been sent to the other Malvern, where they thrived, and managed to get cuttings from that tree sent back to the UK.

Yesterday it was the turn of the judging team from the Royal Horticultural Society for the national Britain in Bloom contest.

Among the highlights of the tour was Rosebank Gardens, where Malvern Town Council's groundsman Steve Loader created an ornate cart bearing beautiful blossoms close to the famous buzzard sculpture.

And in Barnards Green, the garden around the peace memorial was another highlight, maintained by local traders.

In the run-up to the inspection, Malvern Sea Cadets were hard at work in the churchyard at Great Malvern Priory, clearing weeds that had grown up around the gravestones and monuments.