The annual Lewisham in Bloom competition is now open and the council is looking for the borough’s most beautiful garden.
Last year, Forest Hill School for boys was overall winner, as well as winner of the school’s section. Staff member Sharon Curtis, said: “The students were absolutely thrilled when they heard we had been invited to the Lewisham in Bloom award ceremony last year which meant we were in the top three. They were ecstatic when our names were read out as winners. And this was only our second year of gardening“.
She added: “The garden is now seen as a valuable resource and an outside classroom.“
The experience has been a benefit for both teachers and students: “Lewisham is one of the most deprived boroughs in London and many of our pupils do not have access to a garden. This provision allows them the opportunity to grow and taste fresh produce and think about healthy eating. We also include the garden as part of our social skills programme and we have boys who aren’t on the programme asking if they can come along. Food from the garden is used in our cookery programmes too.“
Curtis says:“ The school will definitely be competing again this year as the boys are keen to keep the cup and love coming up with new and inventive ideas for the competitions. Our planters last year included potatoes grown in a crisp bag, tomatoes in a tomato tin, mint in a toothpaste tube, runner beans in a pair of trainers, an old rain mac planted up with trailing flowers along with a pair of gloves and a pair of gardening boots…the ideas were endless.“
The winner of the Large Front Garden category was Tony Board who proudly presents the front garden with which he has won three times in a row and six times in total, after entering the annual competitions for the first time in 2000.
He explains:“ I have always enjoyed gardening. It is relaxing and therapeutic. It’s nice when people stop when they walk past my garden or even stare at it from the window of a passing bus.“
Over the years he has become a professional gardener, now working at French Street Nurseries. He says:“ It’s nice to win and use my knowlegde of plants but also to be able to help out neighbours with my expertise.To make sure everything is out in summer I start planting in mid-May but really gardening is not restricted to the summer months.“
Asked whether he would he recommend others to take part in the competition he says: “ Sure, why not? Gardening is for everyone, for all ages and all tastes.“
This year’s Lewisham in Bloom competition is now open to residents, schools and businesses. The winners get prizes of £150, £100 and £75.
Participants can enter in six categories, and there are three winners in each, as well as an overall winner:
- residential front garden (small – under 20m squared),
- large residential front gardens (over 20m squared),
- residential planters (window boxes, hanging baskets, tubs etc)
- business premises,
- school grounds
- wildlife gardens
- community gardens.
To enter download and complete the application form. The deadline for applications is Wednesday 29 June.
For more information call Katy on 020 8314 2277.
We would love to see your gardens too so send pictures to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Katharina Herold