City's summer stunners

Bernie Sheppard of Mitford Road, Alresford, has scooped the top prize in Winchester City Council's Best Front Garden competition 2004. The judging team travelled the district to visit tenants' gardens large and small and Bernie's perfect plot was voted number one for its immaculate grooming.

Bernie and his wife Helen have lived in Alresford for 45 years and they keep their display on top form by deadheading and feeding their tubs, planters and borders regularly. With a small but perfectly formed garden, the couple have even found room for a bubble fountain in this green oasis, which is a riot of colour packed with every kind of cottage garden plant.

Best Sheltered Scheme winner was Victoria House in the city centre, where thanks to Scheme Manger Gloria Pike and her willing waterers, a gloriously colourful display is sustained throughout the summer months to delight the 23 residents who love sitting in their sheltered courtyard garden.

Assistant Managers Sally Dunn and Denise Stephens, along with four care assistants, water the blooms at this Extra Care scheme, which also boasts a scree garden and a massed planting of Japanese anemones, which are maintained by Serco, the Council's grounds maintenance contractor. Some of the residents have sponsored individual planters, while the rest are paid for from the scheme's amenity fund.

The Best Hanging Basket Award went to 74 year old Joan Sherfield of Long Priors, West Meon, who had produced an incredible display of over 50 hanging baskets crammed with beautiful fuchsias, geraniums and petunias. The baskets were strung along the length of her home and take around an hour to water every day, a job which Joan enjoys and doesn't see as a chore.

Sandy Worth of Water Meadow Nursery in Cheriton provided the judging expertise for this annual competition staged by the Council's Health & Housing department, but it proved a tough challenge with the standard of entries extremely high.

However, she was so impressed with the interest that the residents had created at Chester Court sheltered housing scheme that she gave a special Judges prize to John McDonagu and the residents for their planting, which brightened up a small corner of the city.

All the prize winners received garden vouchers and Sandy Worth presented a selection of plants for a shady corner from Water Meadow Nursery and Herb Farm in Cheriton, as her Judge's prize.

For further information, please contact Glynis Cole, Tenant Liaison Officer, on 01962 848204.