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This year's contest entirely organised by volunteer committee
THEY look blooming wonderful – and now these gardens have been judged to be some of the best in Basingstoke.
The colourful displays were awarded first prize in this year’s Basingstoke in Bloom contest, run by a team of volunteers.
This year was the first time that the competition has been entirely organised by a volunteer committee after Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council announced it would no longer run the event.
A total of 57 entries were submitted over seven categories, along with another 10 entries in the schools category.
Funding support was still provided by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, and Hampshire County Council, and sponsorship came from Wyevale Garden Centre, in Dummer and Hardy’s Nurseries, in Freefolk.
Michelle Ilsley, 49, and Nick Riley, 56, from South Lea, Cliddesden, were delighted to triumph in the best hanging basket category.
Since they moved in 13 years ago, the couple have transformed their garden from an overgrown mound of weeds to the colourful space it is now, complete with attractive flower borders, pots and hanging baskets.
Miss Ilsley, a secretary and mother-of-one, said: “We do take pride in our garden. As you get a bit older, it’s something to do.”
The couple’s award-winning hanging basket contains a mixture of various colourful flowers including petunia and fuchsia.
She said: “We have several hanging baskets but our winning entry was the best. We entered last year and came second. We were over the moon to take first place this time.”
St Mary’s Junior School, in Old Basing, won first prize for their beautiful display of pink flowers, while Absolutely Offices, based in Chineham, won the award for best commercial garden.
Tanya Ball, chairman of Basingstoke in Bloom, said: “We are very pleased with this year’s number of entries, despite such adverse weather conditions right up to, and beyond, the June closing date.”
The winners will receive their prizes at a ceremony in the Civic Offices on October 17.
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