GALLERY: Milton Keynes Garden of the Year competition winners honoured

Garden of the Year winners Gorden and Rosemary Farr collect their prize
Garden of the Year winners Gorden and Rosemary Farr collect their prize

THE winners of the Milton Keynes Garden of the Year competition have been revealed.

The city’s best gardens were unveiled at a ceremony at Frosts Garden Centre last night – with Gorden and Rosemary Farr clinching the overall prize for their ‘long narrow garden’ described as having a surpprise around every corner.

Gardens all across the city have been blooming with plantlife as part of the 2012 competition.

In total, 49 gardens were entered into the contest which is sponsored by Milton Keynes Council, the Citizen and Frosts. Our picture gallery of all the winners can be seen by following this link.

Judges Maurice Barnes, from the council, and Maurice Rust, from Frosts Garden Centre, decided to delay the judging due to this year’s cold and wet growing season.

But despite the weather, they were amazed at the quality of gardens they visited at schools on July 8 and at private gardens at the beginning of August.

The full list of winners can be found here:

School Gardens

The schools that entered the competition were: Ashbrook of School of Two Mile Ash, Green Park School of Newport Pagnell, Holmwood First School of Two Mile Ash, Redway School of Netherfield, Sherrington Village Primary of Sherrington, Slated Row of Old Wolverton, Stanton School of Stantonbury and White Spires School of Bletchley.

The judges were overwhelmed by what they found when they visited each school entry.

Every garden is a credit to the teaching staff who have led and encouraged the children in classrooms and after school gardening clubs.

The children were more than happy to show the judges their raised beds for vegetables and flowers grown in all manner of containers and old tyres. Many schools are selling the produce they have grown to parents, which will raise funds to buy seeds in future.

Other schools are setting aside an area for conservation to encourage wild flower and grasses to grow, attracting birds, butterflies and insects. Several schools have set up ‘forest schools’ within the tree areas surrounding their school playing fields, as well as planting trees to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee.

Chickens, ducks, rabbits and other small animals were also available at some schools as part of the children’s education in animal husbandry.

The winning school was Stanton Middle Shcool, where all the children were encouraged to submit their own design for a new garden opened to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee.

The garden is made up of a winding bark path leading through the centre of the garden with raised beds on either side. This is where each class has a ‘year box’ planted with either vegetables or flowers. Two planted raised beds are also permanently planted with shrubs and herbaceous plants to give colour throughout the year.

Two tractor tyres have been planted with colourful flowers, fruit trees along side seating, barbecue area, water butts. A bridge leads from this area to a raised decking performance space which has been designed for school activities and evening use.

The school has a Gardening Club each Thursday and gardening is so popular that the children have to take turns to use the gardening area. The member of staff responsible for making this garden happen was Ed Wheatly, along with a team of dedicated helpers.

The Gardener of the Year

This award was made to a gardener, who the judges felt was worthy of recognition for promoting horticulture and gardening and devoting time to help aspiring gardeners: Ed Wheatley of Stanton School.

Mr Wheatley devotes every working day encouraging the future gardeners of Milton Keynes in gardening skills and knowledge. He organised all the pupils at the school to produce their vision for a new school garden. From all the pupil’s ideas he set about designing a new school garden and then constructing it with the help of colleagues, parents, friends and family in time for the Jubilee. The garden is for the pupils, a journey of learning about plants and healthy eating.

Best large front garden

Runners up

Andrea Gray of Simpson: The judges found a sheltered garden full of insects and butterflies hopping around on the large lavender and buddleia bushes and a manicured lawn surrounded by mature herbaceous borders all in flower. Vegetables and colourful containers full of flowering bedding plants also makes this a lovely garden.

Avril Lawson of Woburn Sands: Mrs Lawson’s cottage garden is a joy to all who pass whatever the time of year is. It is planted with colourful red, white and blue flowering plants in the borders, a large bed of red begonia sempervirens, colourful red white and blue baskets and containers and a beautiful red rambling rose on the side of the cottage in full flower.

Winner of the Best Large Front Garden

Mary Stone of Emerson Valley: It was this magnificent front garden which impressed the judges. Dominated by ornamental wrought gates with stately acer crimson kings trees either side, it also has two beautiful mature standard fuchsia plants growing in containers. Growing in the borders are manicured shrubs and stately ferns which surround the lawn and are all covered in gravel chippings under the shade of mature trees. A beautiful garden.

Best Large Back Garden

Runners up

Mary Stone of Emerson Valley: Mrs Stone’s back garden has colourful borders of shrubs, herbaceous and bedding plants surrounding the lawn lawn, two pergola areas covered in climbing plants and stunning hanging baskets giving shade to two seating areas. There are also vegetables and herbs growing in containers in the greenhouse in this wonderful garden.

Mr E T Martin of Woburn Sands: This large mature garden has two wide herbaceous borders in full flower either side of a large lawn, leading to a raised paved area and a circular fish pond. An established pergola rose walk leads to a large vegetable area with raised beds for easy gardening and a greenhouse full of vegetables hidden at the side of the rear garden.

Winner of the Best Large Back Garden

Gorden and Rosemary Farr: The winning garden is a long narrow garden divided into rooms with surprise around every corner and turn. A narrow undulating path leads through the garden from the courtyard full of shrubs, flowering herbaceous plants, very colourful bedding plants and containers near the patio area.

Through it there is a cutting garden with superb flowering dahlias, a Mediterranean garden planted with succulents and drought tolerant plants and an alpine garden with raised bricks beds. A mature planted pergola of climbing plants shade the fern area. These are beautiful well established ferns which must be some of the best grown in Milton Keynes.

Several water features, statues, hidden seating areas together with a greenhouse, water butts and compost bins are there with a garden path which just keeps on going to the bus stop sign at the bottom of the garden. This garden has no room for weeds except at the very bottom where they are cultivated especially for insects. The garden is a haven for butterflies and railway enthusiasts and there are a collection of old railway signs to amuse all those who walk through the garden.

Best Small Front Garden

Runners up

Mr and Mrs Derek Powers of Furzton: Beautiful stately hollyhocks dominate this garden planted growing at the back of a narrow border planted with colourful summer plants, a mature choisya sundance cleverly hides the water butt by the front door.

Ian Maddox: This is a small front garden with two cleverly constructed borders of colourful summer flower bedding plants and herbaceous created across the width of the lawn to hide the slight fall in the garden from the house to the road side. The beds are covered in bark to help retain moisture and reduce weeding.

Winner of the Best Small Front Garden

Mr T Haseldine: This is a beautiful front garden with a clever use of buff coloured brick stone edging, constructed in semi circular layers to conceal two raised manhole covers and two brick squares. Planted containers are also stood on top of the manholes.

Good use has been made of coloured chippings and on the walls of the house are established climbers, colourful planted window boxes and hanging baskets. But what really impressed the judges was the manicured lawn which in their opinion must be one of the best in Milton Keynes.

Best Small Back Garden

Runners up

Mr and Mrs Derek Powers of Furzton: This manicured back garden has nothing out of place. A raised deck conceals the high drop from the patio doors to the garden beneath and a number statues and stone containers dominate this small garden with its clever use of colourful stone chippings.

There is also a small fish pond and a duck house for the two resident ducks, who are as obedient as any dog. The boarded fences are covered in climbing shrubs and roses, but what impressed the judges mostly with this garden was a planted wall made up of five layers of bedding plants, herbs and small shrub constructed out of two timber planks and weed control fabric.

The fabric supported strips of narrow timber to form pockets of compost for the plants to grow in a 4ft wide and 5ft high space.

Mr A E Ryan of Bletchley: This small lawn has narrow borders full of shrubs, herbaceous and bedding plants around it, many of which are in flower. Above these borders, supported on the fences, are 40 hanging baskets, full of all sorts of flowering bedding plants from fuchsia, geraniums to petunia. Hidden in the foliage are three water butts and tall runner beans. A haven for hanging baskets enthusiasts.

Winner of the Best Small Back Garden

Mr Ted Nazarko of Central Milton Keynes: The winning Best Small Back Garden was an amazing back garden devoted to vegetables and soft fruit. This garden would be more aptly described as the ‘hanging gardens of Milton Keynes’. A very clever use has been made of wooden decking boards to creating raised beds, boxes and troughs, a small fish pond and areas to hide the compost bin.

On the top of the fence is a constructed narrow trough for smaller growing plants. A mature grape vine on the wall of the house supplies enough grape for a years supply of wine. This year has seen some new editions to the garden, two dwarf apricot trees and a few flowering bedding plants to help with pollination.

Concealed under a raised seating area and deck is a 1,000 gallon water butt and a traditional hand pump which works. Rain water is collected off the covered pergola over the seating area, feeding the tank in the winter. In the summer the grape vine covers the area to make a cool shady oasis. A truly remarkable garden.

The Best Newcomer

Mr T Haseldine of Shenley Brook End: This beautiful front garden impressed the judges with its clever use of landscape materials, colourful window boxes, hanging baskets, containers and a manicured lawn which must be ranked as one of the best in Milton Keynes.

Best Housing Association Garden

Richard Willey of Monkston: Mr Willey’s small compact garden is constructed around a square paved path. Planted within it are several small trees, shrubs, herbaceous and bedding plants. A lot is packed in a small space along with four hanging baskets and planted containers. To the side of the house are four water butts and compost bins with vegetables growing in containers.

Best Council Tenant

Jackie Tyler of Peartree Bridge: This is a narrow garden divided into separate area with a clever use of trellis to create more growing space. The garden is a riot of colourful shrubs, herbaceous and bedding plants and is heaven for insect and butterflies. A very busy garden in a small space.

Best Hanging Basket or Containers (This category is restricted to council or shared ownership homes)

Mr Mark Concanion of Stacey Bushes: There were several colourful containers in Mr Concanion’s garden, full of a wide range of bedding plants growing in a variety of containers and old chimney pots. The container selected for judging was an old chimney pot with flowering fuchsia, ivy leaf, geraniums and nepeta.

Best Allotment

Runners up

Mr and Mrs Robert Hedges of Olney: This is a traditional plot growing a wide range of vegetables, and flowers which Mr and Mrs Hedges take to local shows with some hopefully award winning runner beans and cucumbers from a small greenhouse. Growing on the plot are flowers and vegetables, a selection of soft fruit and award winning dahlias.

Mr Clifford Ugochukwu: Clifford has his own style of growing on high ridged beds so that the water drains away. It is a well working plot where rotational planting takes place each year with a mixture of crops such as potato, runner beans, onions, garlic, sweet corn to name but a few. Clifford has been conducting an experiment this year with onions and garlic sets bought from Frosts Garden Centre and others bought elsewhere.

Winner of the Best Allotment Award

Ray Young of Bradville: The winning allotment is a very colourful plot with slightly raised beds and a good range of vegetables, including some runner beans along with soft fruit including some excellent blackberries and fruit trees.

Among the flowers were some amazing sweetpeas in full flower when the judges visited the plot. There was also a tunnel containing tomato and cucumbers. An arrangement of water butts, compost bins and the resident chickens make this a thoroughly good plot.

Best Community Garden

Five gardens were entered into the competition and the judges decided that the award this year should go to Milton Keynes Arts for Health.

A group of volunteers give up their time each week to help maintain several of the enclosed gardens within the hospital. The team was led by Barbara Muray and also helped by patients who have suffered strokes and learning difficulties. The judges were shown The Wheel Garden, The Camel garden, The Snail garden and the Meadow Courtyard Garden where the volunteers have made marvellous strides to improve these gardens for the benefit of patients, staff and visitors alike.

The Sustainability Winner sponsored by Serco

This year’s award is made to the Hanging Gardens of Milton Keynes, Ted Nazarko of Central Milton Keynes.

The Overall Winner

The overall winners are Gorden and Rosemary Farr.

Our picture gallery of all the winners can be seen by following this link