Friday, 2 August 2013

Brilliantly Blooming

The Front Gardens Comp - will you be a judge? Or perhaps you'll join our picnic? 

The Local Vote!
The entries are in - all 45 of them! The gardens are looking beautiful and the official judges have started pacing the streets of the 'wood, marvelling at all the love and care that has gone into the gardens.  Become a judge yourself - take part in our local vote by following this map, then tell us which is your favourite garden via The deadline for votes is 10th August 2013.

We'll announce the winner at the Bearwood Blooms Community Picnic
Please join us in Lightwoods Park by the bandstand on Sunday 11th August at 2pm.  We'll be hosting a Bearwood Blooms picnic, at which we'll announce the winners.  Share food, share company.  Whether you love gardening or prefer admiring other people's hard work, or if you just want an excuse to share some cake with your neighbour, we look forward to seeing you there.  If the forecast looks a bit rubbish, check this blog for a wet weather venue!

Thank you to Avalon Landscapes, Wordright Editorial Services (chief organisor and sponsor)  and Webbs of Bearwood and Thimblemill Library staff for supporting this competition for us lucky Bearwood folk.

So why have people entered the competition?
Here are a few reflections from some of the entrants.  We'll do a prize for the first person to guess which comment refers to which garden!
We love our garden but it is challenged by deep shade across most of the area during the day.  Even though the pressure for car parking is great, we wouldn’t consider paving the garden as we get a lot of pleasure watching things grow and change.  We enjoy looking at all of the gardens as we walk around the area.

Last minute entry here. I'm a novice gardener with not much knowledge and even less money. Inspired by the competition though and that someone cares enough about the community to put up the prize money and organise the whole thing. Thank you.

I started with a yard. A cobbled yard covered in scraggy weed suppressing fabric and a bit of gravel. And my smelly food recycling bin. An untidy eyesore really.

I help run a food cooperative and I'm a keen cook so I wanted to grow edibles and also recycle containers and do it all as cheaply as possible. I started by collecting all the old pots from my back garden, managed to save a couple of plants that had been left over winter, and then a neighbour offered me an old storage bench with a broken seat. Perfect for spuds! I've planted tomatoes and they're doing well (I've never successfully grown tomatoes before) and herbs too and I've been given cuttings and flowers by generous friends keen to encourage me. I don't think I have an award winning garden, but wanted to enter to show my support for the initiative more than anything and let you know that you have made a difference. 

 The most positive thing? My neighbours reactions. My immediate neighbours have supported me and teased me in equal measure, and strangers from further down the road have stopped for a chat, keen to talk about my flourishing potato crop and thriving tomato vines. It's been a great way of getting to know a few more people in my community and I feel a little bit proud every time I approach my front door now. Just need to sort out the house next!

We only started our pink and purple garden last year, shortly after moving in, so it is very much a work in progress! Anderson Road is a mixed use area and our house is opposite a car park so we are trying to create an all year round attractive, colourful space that creates cleaner air, better health and homes for wildlife.

Evergreen laurels, camellias and climbers provide permanent structure, and we have added several perennials that are easy on the purse strings and require little maintenance (we are expecting our first child any day now.). The camellias, daffodils, alliums and tulips  bloomed in the spring;  azaleas and digitalis pupurea foxgloves, which provided much pleasure for bumble bees, have just finished flowering, and now it’s the turn of the roses, shocking pink dahlias, blazing stars, campanula, lavender and Jaggeresque-salvia hot lips. Petunias have also been added for constant seasonal colour.

The majority of the plants have been sourced from Bearwood, cutting down on our carbon footprint, and they are watered, when possible, with rain water collected in buckets in the back garden. Weeding is done by hand rather than chemicals.

I love my front garden, not least because my mom does a lovely hanging basket for me each year and I do window boxes too. It's been built from scratch and when you're outside deadheading the flowers, all sorts of people talk to you. Gardening is so intergenerational.  

My front garden is not large, but I feel I have made it as attractive as possible and hope it provides a colourful and refreshing scene for people walking past, and a pleasant change from front gardens populated by recycling bins. It is left to grow wild and spread as opposed to being a high maintenance garden, or a garden that looks overly managed.

Now wasn't that inspiring?
Here are some more photos for you to enjoy - not necessarily linked to the comments above, nor in any particular order! They're not as good as the real thing though - take a wonder around the neighbourhood with our map of competition entries (to be posted here very very soon!)

For more info on the competition and judging criteria:

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