Gardens across the borough were celebrated through the theme of ’50 years of lunar landings’ at the annual Guildford in Bloom awards last night at the Yvonne Arnaud theatre.

More than 400 people attended the evening. Vivace Chorus opened the show and Joe Talbot from BBC Radio Surrey’s ‘Dig It’ was the guest MC.

Guildford Mayor, Cllr Richard Billington presented the awards, now in their 38th year. Les and Stella Hind were overall winners of the competition with their Allotment/Kitchen Garden. They were awarded a Dartington Crystal engraved vase and a Bee Keeping demonstration at Albury Vineyard. Judges said they chose their allotment because ‘the entire plot was pristine. Les and Stella had managed to raise the quality and standard of their allotment and vegetables which was a remarkable achievement’.

Chairman of Guildford in Bloom, Cllr Paul Spooner said: ‘Congratulations to our winners, it’s been another great year for our borough’s greenest and most creative competition. Innovation was high this year in all groups and we thoroughly enjoyed our special guest of honour (the life-sized astronaut) attending, with thanks to Headway Surrey.

He added: ‘We’ve awarded nine perpetual trophies this year. The Wildlife Garden and Best Site for Nature Conservation were both new categories with wonderful new awards; a pottery hedgehog designed and made by artist Terri Smart in memory of Suki Lowres and a bronze hare donated by Wildlife enthusiast Mo Usher.’

‘I’d like to thank everyone involved for their hard work and dedication and to our premium sponsors Allianz, Barker & Stonehouse and Chapters Financial and our major sponsors Levanter Developments, Tunsgate Quarter and University of Surrey for making this such a wonderful event for our borough.’

Lead Councillor for Arts, Parks and Countryside, Cllr Pauline Searle said: ‘Gardening promotes a great sense of community and has proven therapeutic and health benefits. We are proud of our borough’s gardens and magnificent green spaces. The Council owns and manages 65 parks over 50 countryside sites covering an area of nearly 2,600ha which is actually 2.5% of the borough’s land area. There’s something for everyone to enjoy from town centre play gardens at Westnye and the stunning Castle grounds to Stoke Park with paddling pool and model boating lake to one of our nature reserves.’

The Student Garden Showcase now in its second year was won by Daisy Shearer, student at The University of Surrey, she said her garden was inspired by the principles of quantum physics.

The competition enjoyed a record 209 entries this year and 73 of these were new for 2019. There were 93 Allotment/Kitchen Gardens, 37 Front Gardens, 13 Wildlife Gardens, 12 Pub Gardens, 12 Neighbourhood Projects, 9 Container Gardens, 15 Schools, 10 Nature Conservation Sites (a new category for this year) and an entry from UOS Student showcasing a Quantum Garden and 7 themed entries.

The front garden category received a record number of entries thanks to some creative promotion of this category through a ‘Blooming Act of Kindness’ where we captured the power of flowers giving special Guildford in Bloom twist to the well-known altruistic gesture of ‘a random act of kindness’. In collaboration with Halow Project students we potted up and gave away (in acts of ‘blooming’ kindness) 150 geranium plants to local residents in Park Barn, Onslow Village, Bellfields and Shalford. A further 25 geranium plants were given to shoppers in Guildford High Street.

The Best in Category award winners were:

Best Front Garden: Janet Bangs
Best Allotment/Kitchen Garden: Les and Stella Hind
Best Container Garden: Ken and Patricia Comerford
Best Neighbourhood Project: Palmer’s Lodge Flower Garden
Best Pub in Bloom: Gomshall Mill
Student Garden Showcase: Daisy Shearer, University of Surrey
Best Site for Nature Conservation: Butterfly Conservation
Best Wildlife Garden: Andrew Wells
Best School in Bloom: Wonersh and Shamley Green Primary School
Best Themed Entry: Headway Surrey

Overall Competition Winners Best in Show: Les and Stella Hind

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