A WOMAN’S efforts to improve her health and her garden have paid dividends.
Despite having a heart attack and a stroke Christine Gash, of Leymoor Road, Golcar has transformed her garden from an overgrown wilderness full of nettles into a riot of colour.
And now her hard work has paid off as she has won the South Kirklees best garden category in Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing’s first annual gardening competition.
“I used gardening as physio,” said Christine, 61. “It takes me a long time to do things, but I keep going because I know the results will be worth the effort.
“I get most of my plants from the waste sections of garden centres. I get a real sense of achievement out of nurturing plants that no one else wanted – and I love getting a bargain.”
She moved into her bungalow four years ago as part of the recuperation after her heart attack.
“The garden was really overgrown but it has restored my life. I was never a keen gardener and I don’t know the names of the plants, but it is now my little world.”
Maxine Heaton and her family won the most improved category for the way they had transformed their Marsden garden.
In just six months they have turned a steep Pennine hillside into a usable space for the entire family, complete with flowerbeds, lawn, decking area and dog run.
And Charles Hever, of Aspley, won the category for the best use of communal space. He gardens for himself and his neighbours and takes great pride in contributing to the community in this way.
Cleckheaton gardener Shirley Walker was the overall winner and was also named winner of the best communal garden category for North Kirklees.
When she and her husband moved into their flat 11 years ago there was nothing in the garden except grass and a dead rosebush.
Since then she has transformed the area around her block into an oasis of colour and calm.
“I didn’t used to like gardening, but now I love it” she said.
Gardening expert and Examiner columnist Graham Porter, who headed the judging panel, was particularly impressed by the range of plants in the garden, calling it a horticultural dream.
Shirley will receive £150 in gardening vouchers, as well as a top-of-the-range water butt and gas barbecue grill given by B&Q.
The other winners will each receive £50 in gardening vouchers.
Paul Buckley, KNH’s director of neighbourhoods, said: “Many of our tenants work very hard in their gardens and their efforts deserve to be recognised. Their gardens bring pleasure to their neighbours and help make sure their estates are attractive places to live.”
KNH manager Helen O’Sullivan, said: “We’ve been really encouraged by the quantity and quality of the entries this year, even though it’s not been the best weather.”