Enter our Bloomin’ Marvellous garden competition

Bloomin' Marvellous 2015 winners Meriel Sprake and Nick Pattenden, from Alexander Grove, Fareham
Bloomin' Marvellous 2015 winners Meriel Sprake and Nick Pattenden, from Alexander Grove, Fareham
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With the days getting warmer and longer, summer is on 
its way.

And that means it is time to get your garden ready as The News launches its annual Bloomin’ Marvellous competition.

We are calling on keen gardeners from Portsmouth, Gosport, Havant and Fareham to show us their glorious gardens and horticultural havens.

Whether your garden is big or small, full of flowers or shrubs, we want to see all your hard work.

Our gardening guru Brian Kidd will judge the entries from submitted photographs and pick a winner after a visit to the top 10 finalists.

Last year’s winners Nick Pattenden and Meriel Sprake won over Brian with their neat lawn, colourful flowers and attention to detail.

Nick says: ‘We never expected to win. It was lovely.

‘I’m glad we entered the competition even though we never thought we would win.

‘We just enjoy tending the garden so it isn’t a chore – it’s something we love doing.’

Upon receiving their winning prize, the couple added they were looking to change their garden by creating dry beds and growing new flowers.

For judge Brian, the picture sent in is the best way to make a first good impression.

He says: ‘My advice is to send in a beautiful picture of your garden.

‘Take time to compose the picture and ensure you take a picture of the area you love most of all.

‘What about a photo taken from indoors of your best view? Feel free to be creative with the picture.

‘Small gardens are very important as I do know we don’t all have huge areas to cultivate.

‘So that makes those photos even more important because if the picture is poor, your efforts go out in stage one of the judging.

‘Judging is difficult but don’t think “vegetables don’t matter”, as it’s good to see runner beans growing as a lovely climber.

‘It’s just as good seeing lettuces! Try to eradicate weeds.’

He adds: ‘Please enter your garden this year, it will be good to meet you on judging day.’

Last year, a range of gardens were entered into the Bloomin’ Marvellous competition ranging in size as well as style.

Some had patio slabs with potted plants and ornaments while others were full of colour.

One garden in Southsea stood out in its street thanks to bright roses and geraniums which ensured the front garden looked lovely.

A Gosport garden also had colourful flowers as well as an apple tree.

A balcony garden in Portsmouth impressed Brian with its potted plants which brightened up the block of flats where the owner lived.

Head of images and chief photographer at The News Sarah Standing has some tips for getting a good picture to send in.

They are:

n take a range of shots to show off every part of the garden.

n make sure they are not too dark, especially if the photographs are taken on a sunny day.

n if you only send one picture, make sure you can see all of the garden.

n if your garden is looking in full bloom now, take the picture. Do not leave it until the end of the competition when the garden might not look as nice.

n make sure there aren’t leaves strewn across the lawn or weeds visible.

This year’s winning garden will be featured in The News and on our website, portsmouth.co.uk, plus the winner will receive the Bloomin’ Marvellous 2016 award.

A selection of other entries will appear in the paper and on the website.

Entry closes on Sunday, July 31.