Are you a bit of a garden enthusiast? Do you pride yourself on having green fingers? Garden competitions can be a great way to have your skills recognised and to simply add a fun extra element to your pastime. It might also give you the incentive to develop new ideas and help you take your garden to new levels.
You don’t need to be a life-long landscaper to enter or win a gardening competition but you will need to make sure your garden is at the highest standard possible. If you want to make sure you are ready for a competition, there are a few things you need to think about.
A competition-winning garden is rarely chaotic. Those who love growing or who want as many plants to look at as possible often cram beds and pots into any available space. There’s nothing wrong with this approach in theory but it’s not what competition judges are looking for. A winning garden will be neatly laid out, well-planned with a clear structure and will make good use of different, complementary and neatly-ordered elements. However, you should try not just to be neat but original and interesting in the way your garden is arranged. Issues with size will not usually work against you as long as the space is used well.
Choice of Plants
Not all gardens that win competitions are massively colourful but you are unlikely to win if your garden is made of pure, unbroken green. It is no secret that colourful flowers look pretty and make your garden look both pleasant and interesting. As a result, they will go a long way towards helping you win. Your choice of colours should be complementary and arranged to work well together. All plants should be well-kept and neat when the competition judges come to visit. Untidy hedges or dead flowers will rarely impress.
Most great gardens expertly tie natural features such as plants with man-made touches. Water features, garden ornaments and structures such as gazebos can all help make the garden more interesting, more attractive and better overall. Even paths, patios and walls are worth thinking carefully about. Neatly-laid and visually interesting paths will count in your favour while a standard row of slabs is unlikely to help your chances of victory.
Perfection comes with practice. In this case, practice usually involves entering gardening competitions to get a feel for the world of competitive gardening and help you identify any weak points. Often, it is best to enter smaller gardening competitions before you consider going for the bigger ones. Many smaller competitions are run by local authorities and councils. North Lincolnshire Council, Bournemouth Council and Falkirk Council all run gardening competitions to name just a few examples. Other local bodies such as wildlife trusts and housing associations may also run gardening competitions. When you feel ready to step up to the national level, some gardening publications and websites run competitions that are not quite so major as the main titles and these can serve as a useful intermediary step.