‘Low maintenance’ garden wins the top prize

Terry and Corinne Brown insist they aren’t religious gardeners, despite winning the Garden of the Year show on Wednesday night.

The pair won the Citizen-backed prize at Frosts Garden Centre at their first attempt after years of being coerced into entering by their neighbours and friends.

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Their sculptured garden features two tall rendered walls and two rows up upright standing wooden sleepers has no lawn, but grey and purple chipping, with a wooden deck and patio area, surrounded by shrubs, herbaceous plants in flower, grasses and bedding plants.

Around the garden are many sculptured features and over looking it all is a metal red kite swaying in the wind.

“We’ve been in the house for eight years and when we moved in, it was just grass,” said Corinne. “In the last house, we had a quite organic and flowy garden. I wanted something a bit more geometric, so that it was different.

“We’ve got upright sleepers, which echoes our time in New York city. There are lots of grasses, some structural plants, but I love plants and I buy lots of them! It’s overflowing, and it’s getting to the stage where everything needs to be pulled out.

“We’ve got lots of fruit and veg, which Terry does a lot with. I put in an ornamental peach tree, but in this last year, we’ve actually had peaches!”

But while some are out everyday to maintain their gardens, the pair insist they aren’t obsessive gardeners.

Terry said: “We have to be out there every week, but we’re not religious gardeners. We don’t wake up thinking ‘I must go out and do it.’

“It was designed to be low maintenance, not no maintenance!” Corinne added.

Terry continued: “There’s no grass, but in all the gravel, we find little shoots from seeds coming through, so we often have to weed the gravel!

“We do what needs to be done when it needs doing.

“It has taken us seven years to get it the way it is. We moved in eight years ago, but for the first year I think we just looked at it and thought about it.

“We went away one year, and when we came back it took me 10 hours over two days to cut the grass because it had gotten so long. That made the decision - no grass!”

Entering the competition was never really something the couple had considered, despite living near, and being encouraged to enter by award-winning gardeners.

It wasn’t until their 40th wedding anniversary last year though, that Corinne decided to enter, and admitted it was a great feeling to win.

“It’s lovely!” she said. “We’re not naturally competitive, and there were some lovely gardens.

“It’s the first time we’ve entered. We were encouraged by our neighbours, who won prizes in this competition for several years running. We didn’t do it, but last year, we celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary and hosted a garden party with about 70 people, and everyone was complimenting us. So this year, I thought I’d whack over the email!”

And Terry said the couple will retire from the competition on top.

“It’s a great surprise. We’re retiring now though!”


Citizen Garden of the year:

Winner: Terry and Corinne Brown, Walton Hall.

Sustainability Award:

Winner: Susan Case, Bradville.

Best large front garden:

Winner: Mary Stone, Emerson Valley.

Runners-up: Maureen Smith, Olney. Mr and Mrs Dorrill, Newport Pagnell.

Best large back garden:

Winner: Terry and Corinne Brown, Walton Hall.

Runners-up: David Hale, Bletchley. Mrs Sullivan, Broughton.

Best small front garden:

Winner: Gillian Randall, Eaglestone.

Runners-up: Michael and Lisa Walker. Derek and Jackie Powers, Furzton.

Best small back garden:

Winner: Pam Angel, Blue Bridge.

Runners-up: Terry Daniels, Stony Stratford. Mrs Randall, Eaglestone.

Best community garden:

Winner: Lincoln Court, Hanslope, collected by Mrs Crossen and Mr Birch.

Runners-up: Burlington Hall, Woburn Sands. Meads Close, Bradwell.

Best housing association garden:

Winner: Derek and Jackie Powers, Furzton.

Best council tenant garden:

Winner: Mark Concannon, Stacey Bushes.

Best hanging basket or container:

Winner: Gwyn Murphy, Bradwell.

Best newcomer:

Winner: Mrs Morrell, Woburn Sands.

Most floral frontage:

Winner: Burlington Hall, Woburn Sands.

Best Allotment:

Winner: Clifford Ogochukwu, Bletchley.

Runner-up: Owen Mitchell, Bletchley.