About Me

My photo
SW London
A semi-mature, hardy individual who tries to get away with doing as little as possible in gardening as in life, still expects the best results & wonders why she is frequently disappointed! She likes to keep a photographic record of everything, good & frequently bad!

Monday, 18 July 2011

I gracefully declined being judged in the final of the competition.

DSCN2615 This probably sounds ever so middle class & even a bit twee but our local resident’s association has a front garden competition every year.

The aim, a very laudable one I am sure you will agree, is to encourage people to contribute towards making the area look nicer by putting a bit of effort into their front garden.

There are no entry qualifications or applications; every garden in the area is judged by a team of enthusiasts before those gardens with the highest scores going through to a ‘grand final’. There are three categories; summer garden, all year garden & container garden; the highest scoring garden of the 3 is awarded the best front garden, receiving a cup & some garden vouchers.

The judge’s gardens are disqualified from judging & the previous year’s winners are usually asked to help with the judging.

We won the competition quite a few years ago, I can’t even begin to work out when it was. Following that triumph I helped with the judging for quite a number of years. It was usually an enjoyable exercise  but in some areas actually quite depressing. Most of the front gardens but many occupiers seem to take no pride in that first impression. It wouldn’t have been too bad if it was just the odd house here & there but in some streets it was difficult to find any garden that could possible be squeezed into the final judging. Concrete & weeds are fairly common & more recently storage sheds have begun to appear which I can see are very practical but take up almost half the available space. At least we have not been forced to deal with the delights of wheelie bins which would have to be kept in front gardens although many people have dustbins & re-cycling bins tucked somewhere.DSCN2617About 5 years ago I decided to both give judging a rest for a while & to give our front garden a re-vamp as it was getting a bit out of hand. I was rather shocked & embarrassed to be awarded the best front garden prize again! It had not occurred to me that it would even be considered as it had only just been completed & some planting needed a bit of time to really get going!  Oooops! Judging beckoned again!

This year the letter about judging was on the doormat when I got back from holiday.I had to deal with some work issues & I quite forgot to get in touch as intended. Imagine my horror on Friday evening to get a letter saying we were to be judged in the final on Sunday! What should I do? Clip the box so it looked it’s best? Not clip the box or the hedge so it might look a bit neglected? Say I didn’t want to win again? (How self-important would that sound) In the end I rang the organiser & muttered I should not be included in the final judging as I should have been involved in it myself & sorry for not getting in touch…….. Phew!

DSCN2613 Today I was delighted to do a little emergency judging. There were 2 contenders for the best container garden with the same score. I was asked if I could go & give my opinion to come up with a winner, so I did!


  1. Well, I can quite see why you won! I love the white sweet peas and I'm very envious of your beautiful black and white path. That Victorian style with the rope edging is so elegant.
    I really don't understand why people don't make more of an effort with their front gardens. It must be so depressing to come home to.

  2. I think this front garden competition is a great scheme. The ones around me are smaller than yours (terraced houses) but a lot of people have made a huge effort to do something with them, sculptures, mosaics, planting schemes etc. It makes walking around the neighbourhood so much more interesting.

    That white sweet pea really does look chic!

    You will have to come and see my garden soon I need some advice on it and you are clearly the Trollop to ask.

  3. Victoria, thanks, I quite like it myself! We had an original black & white path but we had to replace it quite recently as it was beyond any hope of being saved.

    Arabella, you are so right about interesting gardens making being nosy a much more worthwhile hobby.

    Sadly the sweet pea is a perennial which does not pong; I am considering spraying it with sweet pea perfume!

  4. I am the proud owner of a baby from that sweet pea! Actually it's not a baby any more.

    Your front garden is lovely. You should gracefully accept, and then everyone else will get so fed up with you that they will all try harder.

  5. JRo, I had completely forgotten you had babies, probably teenagers by now. That makes me happy!

  6. As I feel myself on the brink, the very edgy brink, of some sort of topiary experience (and this just when the boxwoods that escaped mowing were doing so well...) I am totally inspired by your spheres and your cones. So far my boxes are all free spirits, flinging their sprouts around, maybe ready I feel/hope for some creative snippage. But I won't aim for giraffes, because I do agree with you about that. --Congrats on the winning garden!!

  7. I want a new post please.

  8. Dear anonymous, I have had several posts half written for an age but I have had a severe case of lazy trollopness & haven't got round to completing them!

    How nice of you to say so but who are you anyway??