HMS Excellent explodes into colour for flower contest

As Great Britain melts under the scorching heat of the summer heatwave, HMS Excellent is making best use of the solar rays to shower the establishment in colour.

For the first time, the establishment is hoping to win a horticultural award – the Urban Community of the South and South East in Bloom – by brightening a military establishment with bursts of colour and fragrance.

Environment Manager Ian Mackfall worked tirelessly to ensure the island – home to the Royal Navy’s headquarters, the Phoenix damage control school, reservist unit HMS King Alfred, and quarters for sailors of all ranks among others – was shown in all its flowered glory on judging day.

“I entered the establishment in the competition when I heard about it from a colleague – I thought it would be a good way of engaging with the personnel on site and encouraging people to take pride in their environment and participate in a worthwhile cause.”

I entered the establishment in the competition when I heard about it from a colleague – I thought it would be a good way of engaging with the personnel on site and encouraging people to take pride in their environment and participate in a worthwhile cause

Environment Manager Ian Mackfall

The judging route took the assessors to all corners of the man-made island; all departments and units based on Whale Island were encouraged to nurture floral displays around their respective buildings during the spring, many surpassing expectations.

From the flourishing memorial rose gardens to the Senior Rates’ mess gardens – which act as a communal garden for residents, weddings and other such functions – through to the on-site crèche, where staff have been growing their own produce to encourage little green fingers, the establishment is awash with colour and greenery. The 30 nursery children are even hoping to taste some of the produce they are growing once it has ripened.

Helping to bring the island to life is its apiary houses six thriving beehives, helping both with pollination and Whale Island honey.

With the regional judging still in progress, HMS Excellent will learn how successful it has been later in the year with an awards ceremony at AMEX Stadium in Brighton in September.

“To win would be a huge honour,” Ian added. “It would make the Commanding Officer and me extremely proud and provide a solid platform from which to launch another entry next year.”