Green-fingered residents win prizes for blooming lovely gardens

Thursday, 23rd August 2018

THE green-fingered winners of this year’s individual garden and sheltered housing scheme competitions have now been revealed as part of the 2018 Tamworth in Bloom campaign.

As well as going for gold in the annual Heart of England in Bloom contest, Tamworth Borough Council also throws down the gauntlet to individual gardeners and residents of the town’s sheltered housing schemes to do their bit to make the town blooming lovely.

Many take up the challenge and the standard in both competitions was again extremely high, but the winners have now been chosen.

This year’s top prize for the best sheltered housing scheme was awarded to Bright Crescent in Kettlebrook. Its green-fingered residents always work hard to keep their scheme top notch, but it’s been a few years since they took the top honour, so winning was a real delight.

The gardens at Bright Crescent

The gardens at Bright Crescent

Judges were impressed by the explosion of bright colours and the community spirit involved in creating such wonderful individual gardens and communal areas. 

The gardening project sees residents of the scheme uniting to look after their own and each other’s gardens, taking it in turns to water and dead-head plants, across the whole site.

Resident John Hollis said: “It’s been a real community effort with everyone working together to create these wonderful floral displays. I often go out and water all the plants and we help each other where we can. Everyone is so friendly, it’s been great.”

Ken Lutwyche, who has lived at Bright Crescent for 16 years, added: “We have won this competition many times in the past, but we haven’t had the top prize for a few years, so it’s great to win again. I’ve really enjoyed it.”

Certificates and £100 worth of vouchers to spend at Planters Garden Centre were presented to residents of the scheme by longstanding Tamworth in Bloom champion and judge, John Garner. 

Ankermoor Court and Cheatle Court – both previous winners of the competition – were awarded ‘highly commended’ certificates for superb displays.

There are also many keen gardeners around Tamworth who contribute towards creating an attractive street scene with their impressive gardens. These enthusiasts were again invited to enter the individual garden competition by sending in pictures of their horticultural efforts. 

This year’s top prize, also of £100 worth of Planters vouchers, went to Linda Jackson of Litton in Stonydelph.

Linda has spent 20 years growing and shaping her little ‘wildlife haven’ which includes a huge variety of colourful flowers, planters, evergreens, trees, ornaments and figurines. 

Linda Jacksons garden

Linda Jacksons garden

The 53-year-old senior care worker enjoys creating a garden that is welcoming to wildlife and often chooses plants that attract butterflies and bees, alongside two ponds and more than 15 bird boxes and feeders which are dotted around the space.

Linda said: “I do spend a lot of time in the garden. It’s a working garden so there’s always something to do, but I really enjoy it. I tend to go for bright colours, wildflowers and plants which attract bees and butterflies such as geraniums, busy lizzies, fuchsias and cosmos.

“We get all sorts of birds, bees and butterflies, as well as frogs and toads. It’s my little wildlife haven and secret garden in the middle of a housing estate. I’m ecstatic to have won, it was really exciting.”

Presenting this year’s certificates was John Garner’s last duty as Tamworth in Bloom champion as he steps down from the role after several years. He said: “Bloom is an important part of the environment of our town and you can see that lots of hard work and effort has been put in by winners of both competitions. With the sheltered housing schemes, Bloom also plays an important part in bringing the community together and getting people out and about.”

This year’s Tamworth in Bloom campaign had the theme ‘Homecoming 2018’ in celebration of three very important anniversaries – 100 years since the end of WW1, 100 years since Girlguiding Tamworth was formed and the1100th anniversary of the death of ‘Lady of the Mercians’, Aethelflaed, in Tamworth.

Linda Jackson and John Garner

Linda Jackson and John Garner

Heart of England in Bloom judges Nicola Clarke and Roger Tait were taken on a tour of the borough last month and were shown some of the many fabulous floral displays, community projects and wildlife habitats which made up this year’s entry. Tamworth must now wait until next month to discover whether it has secured gold for a ninth consecutive year.

Cllr John Chesworth, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Culture and Operational Services, said: “Tamworth in Bloom is a real community effort and the individual garden and sheltered housing scheme competitions are about acknowledging that pride that people have in their gardens and their community.

“It’s clear we have a lot of people around the town who are putting a tremendous amount of effort into their floral and wildlife displays. However, the winners are very deserving and my congratulations go to them.”