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.About 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!
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!