Enter your garden to win the Glorious Gardens Competition: 'Friends of Savill Garden' memberships amongst prizes
PUBLISHED: 15:36 13 July 2016 | UPDATED: 15:36 13 July 2016
This summer we celebrate the precious outdoor gems of your home to mark The Year of the English Garden
Gardens come in all shapes and sizes, and we know many of our readers in Berkshire and Buckinghamshire treasure the time they spend in them. So today, in association with Strutt & Parker, the UK estate agents and property consultants, we are launching a competition to find the best private gardens in our two counties.
As you will see from the four categories, below, every type of garden can be considered, from those with just space for hanging baskets or tubs to magnificent displays in family or cottage gardens. We are also keen to encourage those who make a special point of looking after the environment and wildlife through thoughtful sustainable planting and features.
And to make sure that everyone has a chance to enter there is a Wildcard section for eye-catching or unusual designs and features, right down to potting sheds!
How to enter:
1. Choose a category to enter
2. Using the link below upload a photo of your glorious garden
3. Tell us why it should be considered for a prize and submit your entry
Competition closes 1 August 2016. Judging of shortlisted entries will take place in August 2016. Each category will have a winner and runner-up. Fabulous prizes for our winners include double ‘Friends of Savill Garden’ memberships which allow unlimited access to The Savill Garden at Windsor for you and a guest, unlimited parking all year round, gift shop discounts and invitations to some very special events. Both our winners and runners-up will receive framed certificates to record their achievements.
James Heron of Strutt & Parker
James says: “Like so many young men, I left school keen to make my way in the world, but I really couldn’t put my finger on what I wanted to do.Fairly quickly it struck me that the thing I enjoyed most as a pastime was gardening and the great outdoors. I really enjoyed large projects but also took great pleasure in the design and juxtaposition of plants and colours. As a result I decided to go to agricultural college to train as a landscape gardener. Little did I know that I would learn so much Latin!”. After a while James realised, that for him gardening would be a relaxing hobby rather than career choice and so it decided to try his hand at estate agency. “Some 33 years later I am still at it, and enjoy taking a keen interest in clients’ gardens. Every so often I will drop in a bit of Latin and we often end comparing notes as to who’s vegetable are growing best, theirs or mine!”
Our expert gardening writer loves to both point us in the direction of something unusual and celebrate traditional gardens. So one month you might find her banging the drum for big, flamboyant dahlias, the next taking us through the trials and tribulations of growing a new vegetable variety. A regular radio guest who has contributed to Radio 4’s ‘Broadcasting House’ Sunday morning magazine programme, she has had award-winning exhibits at RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
Her first solo book, The Plant Lover’s Guide to Snowdrops, published in 2014, received excellent reviews and a second one, on orchard gardening, will appear this year. Interests include plants, people, botany, environment and design.
While not a natural ‘greenfingers’, Jan grew up in a family of keen gardeners and is still mesmerised by the award-winning floral displays produced by her mother at 83 years old, and relishes the chance to eat produce from the large plot worked on by her father at 88 – they have a genuine fork-to-plate home, with everything from rarer varieties of British potatoes to the juiciest rhubarb making its way to table all year round. This year she has set him the target of growing cornichons – small gherkins – for the first time. Her particular interest is providing the right plants for bees, native ladybirds and butterflies, so a corner of her garden includes nettles and other plants loved by threatened creepy-crawlies.
Our four categories
1. Courtyard and Small Gardens
Size isn’t everything, and we know many readers make the most of a tiny but treasured spot, indeed some of the most gorgeous gardens are both bijou and beautiful. So this category is for those who have little space to play with but have produced something very special. And when we say small, we mean just that. Entries are also invited from those with roof terraces or balcony gardens, or just room for window boxes or hanging baskets providing a delightful display.
2. Cottage and Family Gardens
Here we are seeking the perfect front or back garden for both the home and its residents. Whether that’s immaculate lawns, neat borders and beds full of colour and interest, or one with terraces, barbecue and dining areas, or inviting play space for younger users, we’re willing to champion the traditional Great British Summer Garden. You might have a wildflower corner, big and show off dahlias, or have made the most of trees, gazebos or arbours. This category will shine a light on the efforts of those who love their gardens.
3. Sustainable and Environmental Gardens
If you make the most of your outdoors space by ensuring it’s as ‘green’ as possible, this is the category for you. In particular, we’re looking for organic garden practices such as use of rainwater and composting, and support for native plants, shrubs and trees, whether that’s in decorative spots or fruit and vegetable areas. Gardens designed to welcome bees and native ladybirds and butterflies, birdlife and other wildlife have a place in this category.
4. Wildcard Wonders
When we say ‘anything goes’ in this category, we mean it. Everything from lavish estate-size gardens to fabulous potting sheds with the ‘wow factor’ can be entered here. So eye-catching water garden features, pretty outbuildings, ‘special spots’ in gardens, perhaps those tended by children, have a place in this category. If it’s your garden and you think it, or a feature within it, is special we want to hear from you.