Video: City’s green fingers impress judges in Garden of the Year

A soggy spring, sizzling summer and wilting judges failed to affect the quality of entries in the 2013 Citizen-sponsored Milton Keynes Garden of the Year competition.

The organisers this year were amazed at the high standard of the gardens they visited – even though temperatures soared to 32.2 degrees during the July judging days.

The competition, also sponsored by Milton Keynes Council and Frosts Garden Centre, attracted 42 entries. Judging these were Maurice Barnes from Milton Keynes Council and Maurice Rust of Frosts Garden Centre.

All winners were presented with their trophies at Frosts Garden Centre in Woburn Sands on Wednesday night.

The overall garden winners were Jackie and Derek Powers whose walled back garden in Furzton was described by the judges as “truly beautiful” and manicured.

Gardener of the year was judged to be Richard Willey for his Monkston allotment site. He has been instrumental in encouraging others to grow vegetables, and also formed an allotment committee.

The sustainability award was also won by Mr Willey, who has four water butts and 14 compost bins.

The best school garden belonged to Green Park School in Newport Pagnell, where the pupils grow vegetables, hanging baskets and wild flowers.

The six other schools that entered – White Spires, Bradwell Village, Newton Blossomville, Pepper Hill, Stanton and Tickford Park – all won praise for their outstanding efforts.

The best school seasonal container prize was won by Newton Blossomville Village Primary School.

Mary Stone from Emerson Valley won the best large front garden category, while Mr and Mrs Duffy of Stoke Goldington were the runners up.

Mary also scooped the runners up prize for the best large back garden, along with Sue Case from Bradwell. The winners were Mike and Lisa Walker with their “stunning” architectural garden.

The small front garden category was won by Jackie and Derek Powers. Sue Case and Dawn Jeywright from Bradwell were runners up.

Mr and Mrs Powers also won the category for small back garden, which went on to scoop them the best overall award as well as best housing association garden. Runners up were Mr and Mrs Alan Ryan of Bletchley and Helen Labroy from Monkston.

Best newcomer was John Boyle with his Cumbrian-style Leven Hall topiary garden in Bletchley. Jackie Tyler from Peartree Bridge won the best council tenant class with her “riot of colour” effort, while the best tenant display went to Mark Cancanno.

The prize for floral frontage went to Woburn Sands’ Burlington Hall residential care home. Runners up for the best community garden was Beanhill Daycare Centre and Tinkers Bridge Drop In Centre. The winners were the Simpson and Ashlands Gardening Group.

Meanwhile the prize for the best allotment went to Ray Jones. Runners up were Alan Lashbrook of Emerson Valley and Nigel and Elaine Rudgard of North Crawley.

A spokesman for the event said: “The two Maurices were amazed at the quality of the gardens.”