IT POURED down on the day of judging and a stiff breeze blew during the awards ceremony – but the Easter’s Landscape Supplies Spring Garden Spectacular in Tamworth survived its 24th incarnation.
There were many first-time entries this year – and, indeed, the champion garden was won by first-time entrants Pam and Norm Vincent of North Tamworth.
The Vincents were over the moon with their win – but had been unable to attend the awards ceremony because Mrs Vincent had to have a medical procedure on her back in Sydney.
Mrs Vincent said they were particularly pleased to win champion garden as they had only started their garden about two-and-a-half years ago and the plants were still relatively small.
As champion garden winner, they win return flights for two from Tamworth to Brisbane with Brindabella Airlines.
“That’s very nice – we’re very happy with that,” Mrs Vincent said.
Norm was the major gardener at their place, she said.
“I thought he’s done such a marvellous job on the garden.
"Gardening was fun.
“Just the fun of being in it and seeing what other people think of your garden – a lot of people in our area walk around just to look at it,” Mrs Vincent said.
Mr Vincent said: “I’d like to thank The Tamworth Times and the sponsors; it is very pleasing, very exciting.”
The annual competition, held by The Leader’s sister paper The Tamworth Times, had seen numbers wane in recent years, but numbers were up again this year – to 30 – which greatly pleased Tamworth Times advertising manager Jo Maiden.
“We’ve had quite a few first-time entrants this year, which is very pleasing, because it encourages others to enter their garden in this competition,” Ms Maiden said.
“We were happy with the response but, of course, for our 25th anniversary next year we are hoping to attract even more entries because we have some very special plans for that particular milestone.”
First-time entrant Kay McIlroy was thrilled to win Front Garden and Seniors garden and to be runner-up in Spring Garden.
“It’s lovely – I just love gardening,” Mrs McIlroy said.
“I do it all myself – I do all the mowing and the edging – I won’t let my husband touch it. People always say to me: ‘Oh, you live in your garden’ but I love it.”
Tamworth Regional Council parks and horticulture manager Brian Sheedy congratulated the winners in a heartfelt speech.
He said last weekend he’d gone to a Hunter Valley garden show, but they didn’t have the same weather conditions to contend with that Tamworth did.
“We actually have a tougher task here to produce wonderful gardens and it’s a credit for people to do their plant selection ... and cope with the frost,” Mr Sheedy said.
He commended the first-time entrants.
“You don’t have to be experts – you just have to get out and have a go,” he said.
n Tomorrow’s Leader will have a special feature with all the results, addresses and opening times for public viewing this weekend of the winning gardens.