Celebrating great gardening

Some of Winchester’s best amateur gardeners have been honoured with awards in a competition run for council tenants and leaseholders.

Proving that you don’t need a big budget, a large garden or a wealth of horticultural experience to create something special, all the winners are self-taught enthusiasts.

Many used plants and pots bought at car boot sales, garden ornaments picked up from the local tip and up-cycled planting containers from disused water butts and even an old toilet!

The vibrant results of their hard work are benefiting whole communities, promoting an increased sense of community pride and helping to spread the gardening bug to others. More neighbourhoods are looking brighter and greener, balconies are blooming and communal gardens are bringing older residents together to reduce isolation.

Residents responsible for the very best gardens and balconies shared a total of £1,850-worth of gardening vouchers at a special prize-giving in August organised by Winchester City Council.

Winners include Anthony Coates who uses his garden to teach his children how to grow their own food, Annie Miller who has turned an overgrown scrap of land into a veg patch producing organic produce sold to local people, and Martin Pointer who has transformed the communal gardens at his supported housing scheme for the benefit of his elderly neighbours.

Richard Botham, Assistant Director (Housing) at Winchester City Council, said:

The competition was a chance to honour our green-fingered tenants and leaseholders. As well as benefiting the wider community the winners all gain such obvious enjoyment from working in their gardens. Gardening is great exercise for all ages and can also help improve mental wellbeing as well as physical health. I hope the winners will inspire others to get out and make the district even greener!