Gardening helps Hilary win against the odds

People take up gardening for all manner of reasons – from growing their own fruit and veg to the love of using their creative juices.

For some though, getting out and working in the garden or greenhouse can be a way of getting their lives back on track, and Hilary Jones is one of those people.

A keen gardener for more than 20 years, Ms Jones credits gardening with helping her overcome alcohol dependency.

It has also helped her to cope with the death of her son, losing her job and suffering a nervous breakdown.

"Things went from bad to worse for me," she said.

"I had to give up my job as a nurse because I injured my back, and then I had a nervous breakdown.

"But throughout it all I didnt drink and kept gardening and it was my salvation.

"It was the only thing which got me out of bed in the morning."

Now the 61-year-old has scooped a £190 cash prize for winning the Best Communal Garden and coming third in the Best Balcony category in the Birmingham in Bloom Awards.