Prizes awarded for Garden in Bloom contest that 'lifted people's spirits'


Sarah Conacher won in the Furze Platt ward for her display of public flower beds

Green-fingered residents have been rewarded for their impressive gardens following a competition run by the Windsor and Maidenhead council. 

Prizes have been awarded for this year’s Garden in Bloom competition, which takes place annually with help from the Maidenhead Chamber of Commerce. 

There were more than 200 entries into the contest this year, with all entrants receiving a certificate, and the winner and runner-up in each ward collecting a rosette.

In addition, the winner received a £20 voucher to spend at Braywick Heath Nurseries, in Braywick Road. 

Any garden visible from a footpath or road was eligible for entry, and nominations were made by residents, passers-by and councillors in their own wards.

There was just one category this year, and the competition was judged by councillors on a ward-by-ward basis.

Above: Cllr Phil Haseler (Con, Cox Green) with the winner in his ward, Barbara de Mel. 

Windsor and Maidenhead council mayor John Story (Con, Ascot & Sunninghill), said: “I’m delighted with the enthusiasm shown for this year’s competition.

"We are all lucky enough to live in a beautiful borough with some lovely gardens and this was a fantastic opportunity to showcase them. Thank you to everyone who entered.

“I’m sure that the amount of effort that residents put into their gardens gives communities a huge sense of pride in their neighbourhoods.

“The Garden in Bloom competition is the council’s way of saying thank you for the work they do.

"I hope it has also encouraged a new-found sense of appreciation of the gardens that help make their wards a great place to live, as well as playing a small part in lifting people’s spirits as we have emerged from lockdown.”

Sarah Conacher won in the Furze Platt ward for her display of flower beds located next to the entrance to Oaken Grove park.

She said that she took over the patch of land after seeing it in a previous poor state, adding it took months to get the area ready for planting due to the presence of thistles.

But now the area is packed with wildflowers and treats for wildlife to help the patch of land thrive.

“It is lovely to be appreciated,” Sarah said.

“I often see people stopping and looking at it, and when I do I often go out and engage with them about wildlife.

“I also use plants that self seed, so you never know what you are going to get.”

Anthony Hutchins and his wife Anne (pictured below) won in the Sunningdale and Cheapside ward for their front garden display.

Despite both being in their 80s, the pair have transformed the patch of land in Broomfield Park into an array of colours, with plants and a perfectly tended lawn winning over the judges.

“Anne has won it [Garden in Bloom] before, about three or four years ago,” said Anthony. “So it has been very much a hobby, but she is getting older – we are both in our 80s – so it is getting harder.

“It is just tidy and very colourful. The post lady came last week and said ‘your garden looks absolutely wonderful’.

The Garden in Bloom awards scheme started in 1992 to acknowledge the important contribution private gardens make to the appearance of neighbourhoods.

Last year's event was held virtually to conform to restrictions imposed at the time. 

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