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Council awards to top gardeners
Buy this photo » Dontae Collins-Hart won the best sunflower award
GARDENS were looking blooming marvellous when green-fingered tenants found out who won Swindon Council’s gardening competition at an awards ceremony last week.
The Bloomin’ Marvellous Garden Competition, organised by the council’s housing team, showcased some of the most beautiful gardens and hanging baskets prepared by tenants, leaseholders and their children.
Gardeners could enter one of four categories including Best House Garden, Best Patio/Small Space or Balcony Garden, Best Hanging Basket/Tub and a Best Sunflower competition for children.
Winner of the Best Sunflower competition was six-year-old Dontae Collins-Hart, of Stratton, who grew a row of nine sunflowers, one of which is at least six foot tall. The Beechcroft Infant’s School pupil plans to spend his £25 Argos voucher winnings on expanding his Lego collection.
Dontae’s mum, Sarah Collins, who is also a keen gardener, said: “I’m happy for him. He always loved being out in the garden and we grow potatoes and carrots and he loves growing things from seed.
“We take part in the competition every year and it’s the first time Dontae has entered, too. He was so happy that he won.”
Victor Enticott, of Eldene, who brightens up his local community with his planting talents, was surprised to find out he had won the Best Hanging Basket/Tub award.
He said: “It’s the first time I have taken part in it and I’m very very pleased. I was really surprised and a bit disappointed because the certificate didn’t show my best plant.
“It’s been a bit difficult for gardeners this year with the weather. But it gives me a bit of relaxation really.
“When we moved in all there was was a blank fence so I decided to put up 10 hanging baskets. Then the council came along and put a shed in for people to put their gardening materials in, so I decided to dig a section out there and put a hydrangea in.”
The 82-year-old also brightened up a nearby communal path with lights and planted flowers in his disabled neighbour’s garden.
“It’s nice because people go up the path and they always make nice remarks about it. I’ve done it every year, I just started by digging out a little section and it’s just grown,” he said.
The winner of the Best Patio/Small Space or Balcony Garden award was Sylvia Obey, 54, who tends her garden with her partner, Patrick Keegan.
“Having a garden is good for anybody. I just can’t find the words how much comfort it is to have a garden,” said Sylvia, of Pinehurst.
“I’m more or less disabled but I’m a keen gardener and my partner and I work quite well together. The garden is great, I can go out and dead head and it’s great.
“I saw the paper come out and I saw there was a sunflower competition for children so I told my grandchildren they should enter, and when the lady came round she said I should enter my garden. We have just had some arches put up so it will be good for us to get some roses to put on the arches.”
Penhill’s Kate Windslow was the winner of the Best House Garden £50 gift voucher prize. It is the third time the 56-year-old has won the award for her colourful garden.
She said: “I had no interest in gardening when I lived at home, it was only really when I got my first house that I became interested. I’ve lived here 30 years now and so I’ve got it how I like it and it’s just grown.”
All adult winners won gift vouchers to be used in local nurseries and gardening shops, and everyone who entered received a special certificate.
The winners were announced at a special awards event in the Council Chamber at the Civic Offices on Thursday, where competitors watched a special slide show featuring photographs of all the entries along with a picture display of all the winners.
Coun Richard Hurley, cabinet member for public protection, housing and StreetSmart (Delivery), said: “The standard of the entries we received from our tenants and leaseholders was very high and it was difficult to choose the winners.
“It is wonderful to see so many of our tenants and leaseholders taking pride in their gardens and I would like to thank them for creating such beautiful displays.”
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