Tenants show off their bloomin' marvelous gardens

Release Date: 31-Jul-2015
A Marsden man has taken the top prize in our annual gardening competition.
Len Smith, with Andrew Millea & Izzy Nawaz from KNH, and Stuart Ambler from Barclays

Len Smith, with Andrew Millea & Izzy Nawaz from KNH, and Stuart Ambler from Barclays

The children at St Thomas CE Primary have worked hard on their garden this year

The children at St Thomas CE Primary have worked hard on their garden this year

Now in its ninth year, the competition attracted dozens of entries from every part of Kirklees. The high standards meant the judges had a really difficult time picking the winners, and there were so many outstanding entries that some of the categories were split between north and south Kirklees.

The overall winner was Len Smith. His beautiful hillside garden in the Colne Valley captured the judges’ attention as soon as they stepped through the gate.

Len was taken aback by the award: “I can honestly say that I am absolutely astounded that my small garden, which is so hard to cultivate, has won overall best garden in Kirklees.

“It’s a great result for Marsden because one of my neighbours has also won an award for her garden. We’re really keen to get others on board for next year, so we can enter the ‘best street’ category.”

Len was presented his award of £100 in gardening vouchers, by Stuart Ambler from Barclays Bank, who kindly donated the prize.

According to gardening expert, Graham Porter, who headed up the judging panel, “This year’s competition included a much larger number of retirement living schemes than we have had in the past and we were amazed at the time and effort that people have put in to helping to make communal spaces so beautiful, often with limited resources.

“Individual house gardens showed us once again how much commitment people can give to their homes so that their families and the surrounding communities can all benefit, whether through the growing of fruit and vegetables or through the use of flowers and other plants to enhance the appearance of their surroundings.

“Congratulations to all those who entered and well done to the category and overall winners.”

This year’s competition included a new category for best school garden. The garden at St Thomas CE School in Bradley won the category for south Kirklees. The judges praised the garden not just for its planting, but for the way pupils, parents and staff work together to look after it. The school’s outside learning space also impressed the panel.

The north Kirklees school garden winner was Carlinghow Princess Royal in Batley.

Some of this year’s winners are no strangers to gardening glory. Rod McInnes from Longwood, won the ‘most helpful gardener’ category for the second year running, while the residents at Kings Court retirement living scheme in Birstall won the best use of communal space category for north Kirklees for a second time. Sharon Jackson, also from Birstall, won the award for best individual garden for north Kirklees after previously scooping the top prize in 2012.

The category winners were:

• Best individual garden – Sharon Jackson, Birstall & Barbara Walsh, Marsden
• Best use of small space – Lynda Barber and Andy Fagg, Dewsbury & Gina Pogson, Newsome
• Best communal space – Kings Court retirement living scheme, Birstall & Lynroyd retirement living scheme, Linthwaite
• Most helpful gardener – Rod McInnes, Longwood
• Best school garden – St Thomas CE Primary, Bradley & Carlinghow Princess Royal, Batley

Cllr Cathy Scott, cabinet member for housing, said: “I’d like to thank all those who took part in the competition and congratulate the winners. Their gardens bring pleasure to their neighbours and help make sure their estates are attractive places to live.”

Paul Buckley, KNH’s Director of Operations said: “Many of our tenants work very hard in their gardens and their efforts deserve to be recognised. This competition is our chance to thank them for their work.

“Gardening is a great way of keeping fit and active and offers opportunities to make lasting friendships, so we’d also like to encourage more people to start taking an interest in it – we hope to see whole streets enter next year!”