YEAR eight and still going strong.
With the fabulous garden of Margaret and Philip Beevers from Holmfirth taking the top spot last year, we are now searching for a new winner of the Huddersfield Examiner’s Garden of the Year Competition.
So, if your garden has been hidden from the prying eyes of the judges over the last eight years, let alone the whole population of the Huddersfield area, why not take one or two good photographs of your garden, complete the form on page 27 of today’s Examiner and post them to us.
We look forward to finding our next winner over the coming months, with the judging of the final 15 gardens taking place in the middle of July.
Now that we have tempted you to take part, you might find the following top hints useful to help you get your garden in tip top condition for the day when the judges come knocking at your door.
1. Personality – does your garden reflect you, your family and your life style? Most of us will find that over time our homes and gardens take on an appearance that says something about us, not just what we can afford but how we lead our lives – rigidly conventional, unkempt, very controlled, artistic, very environmentally conscious, productive, exhibitionist, relaxed and calm – which one are you?
2. Hard Landscaping – are your fences, gates, outbuildings, patio and paths in good condition and do they sit comfortably in your garden? Mixtures of hard landscaping materials and colours in one garden can detract from the rest of the garden, forcing the eyes to focus on the offending colour and material clashes rather than seeing the garden and its plants.
3. Productivity – have you jumped on the ‘plot to plate’ bandwagon over the last few years, adapting part or all of your garden to produce some of your own food? Whether you have a single apple tree, a few pots of herbs or a fully productive fruit and vegetable garden, the judges will award extra points. Why not grow a few small patches of the many summer salad crops in a sunny corner of the garden, perhaps near where you might have a patio or a barbeque area.
4. Garden management – are all of your plants well-behaved, including the weeds or does the garden seem to fall and flop all over the place? Some gardeners are able to keep up to the pruning, tying in, supporting and cutting back plants without it being obvious that they have done so and other gardeners seem to use the slash and burn principles of plant management, only getting out the loppers and a saw when the garden path has become completely blocked. This includes weed control, dead heading, watering and feeding, all of which are vital for a well-managed garden.
5. The green image – we all have our own, often very personal views on this issue, choosing to follow the organic route in our gardens and our homes or choosing to use chemicals and artificial fertilisers to help manage the problems that modern gardening presents us with. Do you have a good compost heap, bird boxes, a wildlife pond, log piles, wildlife friendly corners and water butts that help demonstrate your green credentials?
However you manage your precious piece of England, we look forward to receiving your application over the coming weeks and, if you are lucky to get through the first round, we will see you in July as one of the potential winners of the 2010 Huddersfield Examiner Garden of the Year Competition.