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Newcastle-under-Lyme Council’s popular horticultural competition is back

Green-fingered residents from Newcastle-under-Lyme are being invited to enter a digital version of an annual gardening contest.

Newcastle-under-Lyme Council is running its popular horticultural competitions – organised as part of the borough’s Heart of England in Bloom campaign – in a slightly different way this year after last year’s event was cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Rather than judges visiting people’s entries this time, gardeners are being asked to submit up to five photographs of their chosen project – highlighting aspects such as wonderful views of a front/rear garden, an outstanding feature, good practice or evidence of encouraging wildlife – along with an optional short written summary.

The categories are the same as usual: allotments, residential gardens, community projects (schools), community gardens (groups) and licensed premises/businesses.

Residents are being asked to register their entry first before submitting images. Application forms are available at https://bit.ly/3yb8kCt and should be posted to Castle House or e-mailed to [email protected] by 5pm on Friday, 16 July. It’s planned to announce the results at a special event held at the New Vic Theatre later in the year.

Susan Maydew’s beautiful cottage-style garden in Milehouse was declared the best residential garden in Newcastle-under-Lyme in 2019.

Cllr. Jill Waring, Cabinet member for leisure, culture and heritage, said: “I’m delighted that our gardening competitions are back, albeit in a slightly different form, as the borough celebrates 30 years of success in Britain in Bloom – an achievement we’re very proud of.

“Our competitions play an important part in the borough’s bloom campaign by bringing communities together, through their shared love of horticulture, to help make Newcastle look absolutely wonderful. They attract a lot of talented gardeners every year.

“Even though restrictions are easing, we feel the digital element is the safest option for now. The pandemic has forced more people to stay at home and many have been focusing on home improvements, especially sprucing up the garden which is very therapeutic, so by making it easier to enter we can hopefully encourage even more entrants.

“The continued success of the campaign as a whole is down to a borough-wide partnership involving residents, businesses, schools, community groups and a wide range of volunteers who take great pride in improving where they live. As well as improving community links, it makes Newcastle-under-Lyme a more pleasant place to live, work and visit.”

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