Winning garden is just Bloomin’ Marvellous

Gordon Perry and Susan Withecombe in their garden in Shenley Close, Fareham.
Gordon Perry and Susan Withecombe in their garden in Shenley Close, Fareham.

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It’s not particularly big – but that hasn’t stopped Susan Withecombe’s beloved garden being crowned the winner of this year’s Bloomin’ Marvellous contest.

The News’ gardening guru Brian Kidd was blown away by its views, ponds, colourful flower beds and well kept tool shed.

Susan, 66, of Shenley Close, Fareham, and her partner Gordon Perry, 65, who lives opposite in Abbeyfield Drive, spent months getting the backyard in tip top shape.

And now all their painstaking efforts have paid off.

Retired Susan has won £100 of gardening vouchers to spend at Garsons garden centre, in Titchfield.

Susan says: ‘I love the garden and so does Gordon.

‘I’m absolutely thrilled to be the winner. I can’t wait to tell everyone I know.’

‘We have put in so much work. It hasn’t been easy because of the weather; plus I’ve got arthritis in my knees.

‘Earlier in the year one of the ponds collapsed and Gordon had to throw away 11 tons of water-drenched soil.

‘He then had to replace the lining of the pond with corrugated roof panels to make sure it didn’t collapse again.’

She adds: ‘We’ll use the money to install another pond. That’s our autumn project.’

Brian says: ‘As soon as I walked into this garden I saw that it had a great deal of detail and there were so many different views.

‘You couldn’t see the whole garden from one angle.

‘I was also blown away by how tidy the shed was!

‘Though this wasn’t a big garden it had some outstanding features.’

Coming in a close second was Peter Nicklen, 70, and his wife Shirley, 70, of Holybourne Road, Leigh Park.

The couple pick up £50 of gardening vouchers from Garsons.

Retired boat builder Peter built a water wheel feature at the back of his garden and bought a fountain to go in the middle of it.

He also planted a huge circular flower bed with patriotic red, white and blue coloured plants.

Their friend Janice Liddle, 52, of North End, who is looking after the couple’s home whilst they holiday in Torquay, Devon, says: ‘It’s a beautiful garden, I love it. I’m delighted they’ve managed to come second and it will be a lovely surprise for them after their holiday.’

Brian says: ‘When I looked around this garden I was very impressed with the floral displays, particularly the patriotic one.

‘This complemented well with the water wheel at the back of the garden.

‘The whole garden was very cleverly laid out and had plenty of colour.’

Kath and Ron Cummings win £25 of vouchers, thanks to their third place garden.

Kath, 62, and Ron, 58, who live in Ranelagh Road, Stamshaw, were thrilled with their prize.

Kath put colourful plants in her terraced garden and in the spirit of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, she grew red, white and blue flowers in hanging bags.

The couple see their garden as an extension of their home and hold regular barbecues and bacon and egg roll mornings.

Kath says: ‘It’s really lovely to have come third. I would have thought the bigger gardens would have got the top three places.

‘We want to enter again next year.’

‘This was a brilliant garden,’ Brian says.

‘As soon as I walked out the back door and into the rear garden I noticed that it was covered in beautiful evergreen camellias.

‘However when I got to the main part of the garden I was impressed to see that there was an upper level which looked fantastic.

‘Standing there you would were in close proximity of other neighbours.’