Sun shines on garden competition winners

Published Tuesday, 3rd December 2013
Garden contest winner 2013
Garden competition winner 2013

It may be cold outside, but it’s not too early to start thinking about making preparations for Rotherham’s Council homes gardening competition.

Winter is the perfect time to start preparing for the long-awaited spring. Dividing your perennials (the ones that go to sleep underground) and ordering your seed catalogues for next spring and summer is a great way to find inspiration and maybe try something new.

If you want further inspiration, you need look no further than this year's winners, who recently attended a prize-giving ceremony at Rotherham's Town Hall in the presence of Rotherham's Mayor and Mayoress.

The gardening competition aims to reward Council tenants and leaseholders who make a real difference to their areas by taking pride in their gardens.

This is the fourth year of the event, and proved to be just as popular as previous years, with categories for Best Balcony and Best Garden. 

The Best Balcony category means that residents with even the smallest floral displays had the opportunity to join in the fun of the competition.

The Council's Resident Engagement Officer, Christine Staniforth, said, "You don't have to be particularly green-fingered to join in. Just being part of the competition means you are entering into the spirit of the event, with a chance to share your successes, failures and tips with neighbours and friends.

"Entries were received from across the borough, and it was clear people have loved spending the summer tending to their gardens. Contributions ranged from great big back gardens to tiny front gardens, and even a collection of tubs on a balcony."

Prizes were awarded by Cabinet Member for Safe and Attractive Neighbourhoods, Councillor Rose McNeely.

She said, "These residents have made a real difference to their areas by taking pride in their gardens, and making Rotherham such a great place to live.

"Many of our customers take a great deal of pride in their gardens, which in turn improves the image of the area as a whole, making Rotherham a more attractive place to live and visit.

"They wholeheartedly deserve the recognition they get for their hard work."

Green-fingered Kevin Tyler was named overall winner for his thought-provoking garden, which even contained tropical fruit trees.

Judges were impressed with how much variety and interest had been managed in such a relatively small space.

Entries were judged in two categories in each of the seven Area Assembly areas to determine the best gardens managed by tenants aged under and over 60 years of age.

The judging panel was made up of representatives from the Council's Area Partnership staff, a local Area Housing Panel, Council housing repair contractor Morrison, and RotherFed tenants' association.

Each category winner received a prize of £50 of high street vouchers and was entered into a borough-wide Best in Show category, with the overall winner receiving an additional prize of £100 of vouchers.

Shaftesbury House Community Vegetable Growers and Tony Gains received special awards and a £30 voucher for their contributions to improving community spirit through gardening.

Shaftesbury House is sheltered accommodation with its tenants coming together to grow vegetables and herbs. As more people became involved, there emerged an abundance of plants growing in tubs and planters around the flats.

Meanwhile, Tony lives on a bungalow complex and kindly mows the grass for his neighbours to keep it tidy.

Cllr McNeely added, "It was great to see so many people get involved. You don't have to have the best garden to enter the competition and we know some people shy away from getting involved because they think their garden isn't good enough.

"But taking part is part of the fun, whether you win or not. Next year, we are particularly hoping more younger people will get involved. Don't be afraid to put your garden forward. You don't have to have a perfect garden, but if you've taken some pride in your patch, you stand a very good chance of winning!"