Gardeners dig deep to win special awards

A GREEN-FINGERED Royton gardener is celebrating after being honoured at First Choice Homes Oldham’s annual gardening competition Growing Together.

Frank Bland scooped the award for best basket/containers/balconies award for Oldham and the Rest area.

The judges said outdoor space doesn’t have to be big to look beautiful or be practical.

And Frank’s award is for people who have used smaller spaces to maximum effect.

There was recognition also for a number of other Royton gardeners. Jacqueline Costello was runner-up in ‘best newcomer’ category with Joyce Williams third.

In the best community garden category Margaret Egerton, Steve Wainwright and Lilian Lawton, all from Royton, were runners-up.

The competition recognises local people who take pride in creating beautiful outdoor spaces for themselves and their communities to enjoy.

Winners, who received trophies and cash prizes for their horticultural achievements, were announced at a special ceremony at Smokies Hotel.

The ceremony was held in conjunction with Oldham Council and Regenda Homes, who also gave out prizes to their residents.

Guest speaker was television broadcaster Chris Bavin, who presents programmes such as Eat Well for Less, Britain’s Best Home Cook, and Britain in Bloom.

Local judges Diane Drinkwater and Andy Mullington travelled the borough to view all the entries, looking for beautiful colour schemes, healthy plants and the overall impact of the garden, allotment or arrangement of baskets and containers.

Overall FCHO winners were Patricia and John Graham from Dobcross, whose garden, according to the judges, has a cottage garden feel, packed with fruit trees, vegetables, ornamental plants and a seating area where people can sit and enjoy the view.

Other FCHO awards included: Most Improved Garden, Best Community Garden, Best Hanging Baskets, Containers or Window Boxes, Best Edible Garden and Young Gardener.

The Young Gardener award was shared between 11-year-old Aimee Bone from Uppermill and sisters Paige, Krystal and Scarlett Jones, from Derker.

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