This is a year like no other. As many of us stay at home to protect the NHS and support keyworkers, we have more time to spend tending our gardens, courtyards, driveways, window boxes or balconies than ever before. Even though some supplies are difficult to find during lockdown, our home gardens and green spaces will never have looked so good! As many of the national and local garden competitions have been cancelled, Perennial, the charity for people in horticulture, has stepped up with the largest ever virtual garden competition. The competition will celebrate gardens of all shapes and sizes across the UK and raise funds at a time when Perennial’s services are needed most and usual fundraising methods are not possible. With the support of Suttons and a panel of top gardener judges, the HortAid-20 Gardening Competition is open to anyone. Perennial President, Alan Titchmarsh MBE, is heading up the judging panel. He says:
“During the current crisis, the need for Perennial’s help has never been greater. It really is a lifesaver for gardeners and all people in horticulture who are in need of support, and our current work is making a vital difference to so many in these life-threatening times. Please do whatever you can to help the men and women who have devoted their lives to making our landscape a better place”.
Alan is joined by a team of the country’s finest gardeners who will judge photographs submitted by individuals until 15 August 2020. The panel includes Rachel de Thame, Ann-Marie Powell, James Wong, Jim Buttress, Jo Whiley, Lee Connelly (The Skinny Jeans Gardener), Lesley Watson and Michael Perry. All category winners will win a certificate personally signed by Alan and Jim and the chance to meet one of the judges.
Anita Bates, Director of Marketing and Fundraising at Perennial, says:
“Our HortAid-20 Gardening Competition is open to everyone with categories to suit all ages and abilities. Thanks to Suttons we have a top prize of a hamper of goodies worth £250 up for grabs, plus individual category prizes and the chance to meet one of our fabulous judges – when we’re all allowed out again of course! Each entry costs just £5 with all proceeds helping us provide our essential advice and support to people in horticulture. Go on, have a go, you might just surprise yourself!”
Full entry details for the HortAid-20 Gardening Competition can be found online here or purchase an entry at the shop. The closing date is 15 August 2020 with photographs invited by email to GardeningCompetition@perennial.org.uk
HortAid-20 Gardening Competition Categories:
- Small Garden, front or back - including courtyards, town gardens or smaller countryside gardens
- Large Garden, front or back - for those whose garden fits the ‘wow, you have a big garden’ category
- Community garden - this can be any type of community green space including, but not limited to, allotment groups, garden squares, communal spaces at blocks of flats or other types of urban or rural community gardens.
- Garden that normally opens via NGS - if your garden is in the Yellow Book this year, please join the fun and enter here as well as in other garden categories. The NGS is a great support to Perennial in usual years so this is a way for us to say thank you.
- Vegetable garden/allotment - individual plots of any size
- Best vegetable - we’re looking for quality over quantity here. We will assess entries on the photos along so all sides of your prize carrot (or whatever!) should be photographed.
- Largest vegetable (photo to include 30cm ruler) – we know the usual size of veg and so this will be proportionate. We will be judging like for like, not pitching radishes against marrows! We understand the early deadline will probably mean no records will be broken!
- Container/hanging basket/window box - if you garden in a limited space at home, this category is for you. We’ll be judging on beauty, apparent health and quality. Go to town on a riot of colour or classic understatement. We’re judging on horticulture, not personal taste!
- Children’s miniature garden (age 14 and under) – we’re looking for growing gardens or created on a plate or similar. Size can be up to 50cm square. Veg or flowers, we’re looking for fun and quality.
- Healthiest houseplant – we’re looking for quality plants, that have been well looked after and need no outside space.
Entry: £5 entry fee – all going towards Perennial to help people of all ages working in or retired from horticulture.
Closing date: 15th August 2020
Full entry details: www.perennial.org.uk/gardening-competition/