This has not been a summer for visiting gardens, unlike last year there’s been no opportunity for tulip festivals, bluebell walks which I have enjoyed in previous years. I was planning to visit Riverhill Himalayan Gardens at rhododendron time but that will now have to wait for next year.
Staying very local has made me focus on what is in front of me; in place of these specialised and professional displays, I have spent much more time admiring the front gardens which are close to home. I imagine some people have had more time to work on their gardens, but others are consistently good year after year. Such as the sunflower garden (my name for it), which always has a marvellous display of sunflowers in front of their house.
Thinking about and noticing these gardens has lead me to design my own competition for best front garden which entertains me on my daily walks. Everyone is included and everyone wins as I make sure that each garden has its own category.
The sunflower garden wins for best display of sunflowers and also longevity, each year it provides a beautiful spectacle. Other categories include best for sitting outside and people watching, or even hosting a garden party.
One garden has square planters sitting on wooden struts resting on wooden rails, it’s probably just my imagination, but they look like the trucks in a mine, planted with flowers instead of loaded with coal.
There are categories for the widest range of shades of green, most luxurious vegetation, best geometric design, best work in progress. There are wildlife friendly gardens, festooned with bird feeders hanging from branches and one has a tree which erupts with sparrows every time I walk past.
Finally there are the quirky gardens, one with a coastal theme, another which wins my award for most unlikely garden ornaments. The picture describes it better than I can.
Finally, the best thing about my garden awards is that I am the final arbiter, unlike watching Chelsea Flower on television and disagreeing with awards I can make sure each one is appreciated.