HILLINGDON in Bloom 2014 got underway at the Rural Activities Garden Centre (RAGC), West Drayton Road, Hillingdon, this week.

It is free to enter and encourages people to make the borough a brighter and more attractive place by showing off their horticultural skills and know-how.

Categories range from window boxes and balconies to front gardens and communal spaces.

Schools, churches and businesses of all sizes are encouraged to take part, while friends, relatives or neighbours can also nominate a garden they feel deserves recognition.

To help get people started, the borough is offering a selection of free seeds from the RAGC, while stocks last.

Judging takes place in July and the closing date for all entries this year is June 30.

The winners will be announced in September, at a fruit, flower and vegetable show at the Civic Centre. The free-entry event will showcase floral displays and exhibitions of home-grown produce from borough residents.

For the third year running, Hillingdon has also been selected to compete in the Royal Horticultural Society's regional and national events, Britain in Bloom, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The theme is Growing for Gold.

For more information about Hillingdon in Bloom and to enter online visit www.hillingdon.gov.uk/bloom.

Entry forms are also available from all Hillingdon libraries.