By Sara Messenger of the Bradley Stoke in Bloom group.
As our annual Best Front Garden competition is now in its 9th year, I think we can justifiably claim it is now a firm fixture in Bradley Stoke’s social calendar. This year we had a record-breaking 24 gardens enter the competition: 14 in the large category and 10 in the small category; an almost equal mix of competition veterans and first timers.
On Saturday 17th July (one of the hottest days of the year) we split into three groups and armed with water bottles, cards, cameras and clipboards spent the day judging your amazing gardens. Usually we have just four assessment categories: ‘Well kept frontage’; ‘Quantity / quality of plants’; ‘Outstanding character’; and ‘Well kept lawn, paths, driveway’; but this year we added an ‘Environmental’ category. Although it was left for the judges to decide for themselves how to award points in this category, items such as butterfly café’s, wildlife food & water, homemade seats, recycled materials, water butts, fruit / veg / sustainable planting were well received by us all.
Every garden we saw was unique, with such a wide variety of tastes and styles, but each reflecting their owner’s desire to make their own space a glorious green haven, and in doing so, not only enhancing their own home but their hometown too. And for that we’re all very grateful
as it makes us feel we really are part of a lovely community.
The pictures of the gardens show how wonderful they all were, much more so than I could describe here, so I shall just say that the joint first place to newcomers Michelle & Andy Dent and to veterans Paul & Judith Johnson was well deserved, even more so when we discovered that the Dent’s stunning garden was less than a year old. And it was a great pleasure to again award Maureen Hopkins & Evelyn Coates 1st prize in the small garden category. Maureen was our first winner in 2013 and again in 2014 and after taking a few years out returned to win again in 2019 and 2020!
Tip: In the results lists below, click on the letter in square brackets, e.g. [A], to view an album of photos of that garden on the Bradley Stoke in Bloom Facebook page.
Prize winners: Large garden
- =1st: Michelle & Andy Dent [F]
- =1st: Paul & Judith Johnson [W]
- 3rd: Charley Plenty [X]
- 4th: Richard & Gill Love [T]
Runners-up: Large garden (in alphabetical order)
- Alisa & Richard Aquilina [B]
- Anil Mathew [J]
- Anne & Harry Hughes [P]
- David Neale & Jenny [N]
- Elizabeth Mathew [U]
- Helen & Graham Egarr [I]
- Jitesh Mistry [E]
- John & Sue Burton [M]
- Krishnan Rambadhran [S]
- Penny Bidder [A]
Prize winners: Small garden
Runners-up: Small garden (in alphabetical order)
- Angela Morey [R]
- Aurgharupa Majumdar & Gokul Nayar [D]
- Christine Price [O]
- Fred J Hillberg [G]
- Gemma Gamen [K]
- Mandy & Wayne Randall [L]
- Myles Cutler [C]
Facebook Favourite 2021: Was won this year by Richard & Gill Love who received a second framed certificate, an engraved medal and a £15 garden voucher donated by Almondsbury Garden Centre (AGC).
Greenest Garden 2021: Krishnan Rambadhran scooped this prize and took home a second framed certificate, an engraved medal and a £25 AGC voucher. Thank you to the Bradley Stoke Zero Carbon Group who contributed to the cost of the prizes.
1st prizes for the Large Garden category were having names engraved onto our shield (which they get to hold for 6 months each), a personalised glass trophy to keep, a framed certificate, an engraved gold medal, a rose soap, a £25 garden voucher donated by Almondsbury Garden Centre and a meal for two with a bottle of wine voucher donated by The Hollow Tree.
1st prize for the Small Garden category was a personalised glass trophy to keep, a framed certificate, an engraved gold medal, a rose soap, a £25 garden voucher donated by Almondsbury Garden Centre and a Friday Night Event voucher donated by The Aztec Hotel & Spa.
2nd prize for the Small Garden category was a personalised glass trophy to keep, a framed certificate, an engraved silver medal, a rose soap, a £15 garden voucher donated by Almondsbury Garden Centre and a Tea for Two voucher donated by The Aztec Hotel & Spa.
3rd prizes were a personalised glass trophy to keep, a framed certificate, an engraved silver medal, a rose soap and a £10 garden voucher donated by Almondsbury Garden Centre.
All runners up received a framed certificate, a rose soap and an engraved bronze medal.
Our mayor Michael Hill had declared that he was looking forward to handing out the prizes and only paled a little when he realized the size of the task! But at the Picnic on the Green he did a sterling job and for those that weren’t able to make the Saturday, he kindly invited them to the next council meeting where, his chain straightened and repolished, the remainder of the prizes were awarded.
Our shield is now full, so next year it will be framed and hung in the town council office and two new shields will be bought, one for each for the small and large categories.
Finally, a big ‘Thank you’ to everyone who entered, to those who gave up their day to be a judge, and to those who engraved trophies or donated prizes. The competition would be nothing without you!
More photos and images:
- Hi-res photos of the winners and runners-up:
- BSJ magazine two-page spread:
How to contact Bradley Stoke in Bloom:
This article originally appeared in the September 2021 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on pages 14 & 15). The magazine is delivered FREE, nine times a year, to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.
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