WHEN Chris Allen moved in to her flat 14 years ago the back garden was drab and full of sheds and washing lines.
Now the communal garden in Woodcot Crescent, West Leigh, is a riot of colour with more than 500 pots bursting with flowers and plants.
Chris, 63, was the overall winner of the Portsmouth City Council tenants gardening competition.
It highlighted the residents who have taken most pride in their area and gave them a chance to show off their gardening skills.
Chris said: ‘At the beginning it was a terribly neglected area. The back was all concrete and the front was a mess.
‘When I started people would come up to me and say “I wouldn’t bother if I were you, it’ll only get stolen or destroyed”
‘But I told them people have a choice about whether to be bullies or not. I just got on with it and last year we won silver in the Havant in Bloom.
‘My favourites are the daffodils – it’s such a shame they only come out in the spring. But I like most flowers and try to get in as many as possible.
‘Because the garden is private not many people get to see it, which is a bit sad. But people living here like to enjoy it.’
To save money Chris, who is a grandmother, recycles household objects and containers to use as plant pots.
She also uses plant cuttings and seeds from her own established plants and from friends, family and neighbours.
Joint runners up in the competition were Caroline Eaton of Wakefords Way, in West Leigh and Shirley Jones of Hood House, in Soberton Road, in Leigh Park.
Caroline has transformed a shabby space into a pretty paradise with fantastic raised planters and a lush lawn.
There is also a beautiful memorial garden for Caroline’s mother with bright borders bursting with colourful flowers.
The competition was judged by a panel including Mayor of Havant, Cllr Gerald Shimbart.
He said: ‘All of the entrants must be warmly congratulated on their efforts, and I expect that they will have even more to show next year.’