DURHAM is in the running for a prestigious national title in recognition of its marvellous gardens.

They city is going for gold in the final of the 2018 Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Britain in Bloom competition, where it is shortlisted in the Small City category.

The city is no stranger to success in the competition having scooped triple golds in 2014, 2015 and 2016 – competing in the Champion of Champions category in the latter.

The Durham in Bloom campaign is a joint project between Durham County Council and community groups, such as businesses, volunteers and schools.

Together the partners lovingly cultivate floral displays and run environmental projects.

Oliver Sherratt, the council’s head of direct services, said: “Our city’s many volunteers, school children and businesses should be thrilled that their hard work and determination to make Durham bloom has once again been recognised at national level.

“To be shortlisted in the Small City category is proof that Durham is a blooming beacon for horticulture and after achieving so many Golds in the past, we can proudly claim we’ve grown into a reputable ‘Northern Flowerhouse’.”

This year’s campaign, which launches in spring, will see hundreds of volunteer hours dedicated to sustainable improvement schemes aimed at fostering community spirit and civic pride.

It will see the return of Durham’s popular 3D floral sculptures – a Bishop’s Mitre and St Cuthbert’s Cross installation. A new poppy feature at Leazes Bowl roundabout will also mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.

In addition, the city’s ‘Best dressed window’ and ‘Best dressed market stall’ competitions will return along with the annual gardening contest ‘Beautiful Durham.’