Residents in Leigh Park have been having a bloomin' marvellous time this week as they geared up for the final judging of this year's Gardens in Bloom competition.
Run by Portsmouth City Council's Resident Development team, the competition is always a popular event with local residents, and now in its 4th successful year. This year there's been an overwhelming response from local people and pupils from schools across the area.
This year, the special guest was the Portsmouth Football Club legend Alan Knight, who alongside the other judges which included Havant Councillor Beryl Francis, went along to each of the schools and gardens over three days to judge the entries that had been submitted.
There were some truly fantastic entries with people using their skills and imaginations to create some beautiful displays.
The awards ceremony with strawberry cream tea was held today, Friday 1 July, at the Resident Participation Centre in Sharps Road, West Leigh.
The categories this year were Pots, Yards, Gardens & Unusual Gardens, Schools and Children's Centres:
Judge and Pompey legend Alan Knight said:
"Judging something like Gardens in Bloom was a new experience for me, it really opened my eyes to the commitment of the residents and pupils who poured so much love and effort into their entries. I'm no expert on gardening, but I was really blown away by some of the entries, the creativity was astounding, we have some really passionate gardeners in the area, it's been really difficult to judge and pick one winner for each category!"
Addieson Lawrence, (8) St Albans Primary won Best Pot and Outstanding Pot:
"I really love my prize because it will help us do more gardening, I won some seeds and a pot to plant them in, the seeds I won are for plants that are good for bees, and they're really important, most of the food we like wouldn't be there without bees!"
Lydia Warner aged 6, winner of best pot (4-7 years) from Barncroft Primary School said:
"I decorated a pot with friends in my class. I used paper, feather and gems to decorate my pot. I'm really pleased to be a winner!"
Josie Cole, aged 10, winner of best pot (8-11 years) from Barncroft Primary School said:
"I really enjoyed the competition, I decorated my pot with coloured beads and made handles with pipe cleaners. It's really good to be a winner, I'm proud for my school".
Following the awards presentation there was an official opening of the Centre's new garden which has had a fabulous make over and will give local people a new area to relax and enjoy.
Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, David Fuller said:
"It's an absolute honour to open the centre's new garden today, it's all thanks to the local people who actively get involved in their communities to make change and improve the areas that we live in. It's amazing the change that every day people can make when they come together to nurture the areas they live in. Thank you to everyone who came along today."
Organiser of the event, Centre Manager Heidi Golder, Resident Development Officer said:
"It is so wonderful to see so many people in the community getting involved in our fourth Gardens in Bloom event"
"This year we have had an amazing 961 entries, this is between Portsmouth City Council residents, gardens, schools and children and adults using the centre and making, decorating and sowing seeds for the event."
"Our Gardens in Bloom event seems to get bigger and bigger each year. It's been a truly overwhelming response and we couldn't be happier to see people getting involved in gardening, improving their surroundings, and coming together this way."