Winchester’s gardeners put on a colourful display

A couple of local residents have an old red shopping trolley to thank for their victory in this year’s Winchester City Council gardening competition.

Lilian Joyce, of Danemark Court, Gordon Road, has been using her trusty red trolley to transport bags of compost and hundreds of plants from garden centres around Winchester and Eastleigh. Mrs Joyce and fellow resident, Ray Long, a retired Winchester College Greensman, worked together to plant and look after the garden. All the heavy lifting and dragging paid off when their garden at Danemark Court in Winchester was awarded first prize in the sheltered schemes category of the City Council’s annual gardening competition.

Celebrating their win, the pair laughed together about the trolley, which has a squeaky wheel. Mrs Joyce said: “I’ve been waiting a long time for him to fix the wheel” Mr Long, replied: “I like the squeaky wheel; it gives me good warning that she’s on her way home!”

Competition judge, Cllr Rob Humby, said: “The garden is really beautiful and I was amazed when I discovered that Lilian brought everything home in her little trolley!”

Meanwhile, Helen Sheppard, from Mitford Road, Alresford, won first prize in the best front garden category of the competition, which is open to all council tenants and leaseholders. Mrs Sheppard’s husband Bernie nominated her to say thank you for looking after the garden single-handedly while he received hospital treatment.

Cllr Humby said: “There were a lot of entries and the standard was very, very high. It was nice to see borders as well as pots, and everything is spotless.”

Winnall decorator Phil Sherlock retained the best balcony award and also won the best hanging basket category. Celebrating the double win with a glass of bubbly, Mr Sherlock said: “It has taken about 16 hours of work and more than 200 plants to create the display. I’m on the balcony every day weeding and watering.”

Joan Downing, a retired Nurse of Bere Road in Denmead, won first prize in the best novelty container category. Cllr Humby said: “I chose Joan for her imaginative use of a cage and for having a novel idea. It was a fantastic idea and brought a smile to our faces!”

Mrs Downing said: “An old neighbour gave me the cage when he got rid of his birds back in 2001. I thought it would be quite fun and I’ve also put plants in my husband’s old motorbike boots!”

There were also a number of other winners in various other categories, with all winners and runners-up all received garden vouchers.