Winchester’s gardens are looking blooming marvellous

Green fingered residents from across the district took part in this year's Winchester's Prize Blooms Garden competition.

Winchester City Council’s popular garden competition is run every year for its 5,000 tenants and this year it was judged by BBC TV's Gardener's World contributor Sandy Worth of Watermeadow Nursery in Cheriton.

Front Garden
Retired cook Mary Heath says her recipe for gardening success is a bit of hard work mixed with lots of tender loving care – and it must work because Mary has just won top prize for the Best Front Garden.

Mary, of Tampers Lane, Boarhunt, entered the competition for the first time last year winning the best newcomer’s prize and now she has come first again.

She has lived has lived at Tampers Lane for 26 years and the garden has always brought her joy. Now though, it also provides a relaxing break from her role as a full-time carer. “I can shut myself off by tending my flowers,” she said.  “I do like the old fashioned flowers – hellebores, primroses and of course roses.”

She added: “I’ve got colour all year round, there is always something to look forward to because I’ve got flowers for all four seasons.”

Judge Sandy Worth said: “Mary had so many different varieties – herbaceous plants, shrubs and flowering shrubs, which will grow all through the seasons. She also had herbs, tomatoes and strawberries among the plants.  It’s a really good all-year-round garden and her win is well-deserved!”

Best Sheltered Housing Garden & Best Balcony
Residents of Richard Moss House, Winchester, are celebrating two wins this year. They won top prize for the best Sheltered Housing garden, and resident Genney Barnes scooped the best balcony award.

Scheme Manager Bee Derrick said the garden was a haven for the residents. “They enjoy doing the garden and spend hours out there. We have a fund to buy plants, although we were given a hibiscus recently from Kew Gardens.”

The gardens feature a range of colourful plants but also many fruit trees including apples, pears and plums.

Genney Barnes, 85, has lived at Richard Moss House since 1991 and won first prize for the colourful window boxes that adorn her three balconies. “My husband was always interested in gardening and since he died I have taken it on,” she said.  “I’d never thought about entering it in the competition.”

Best Hanging Baskets

Ron Ruddle, 75, from Bishop’s Waltham won top prize for the second year running for his hanging baskets. But it is not just the plants that Mr Ruddle is nurturing – he is also helping his young neighbour Olivia learn about plants.

With Mr Ruddle’s help the nine-year-old is growing her own crop of tomatoes – and last year they grew sunflowers. Her mum Melanie said: “We’ve lived here for about eight years and Ron is a really lovely neighbour - he keeps everything so nice!”

Mr Ruddle propagates the plants from seed and this year has planted 10 hanging baskets and dozens of pots and containers. Mr Ruddle said:  “I like it keep it all looking nice and tidy.”