Calling all gardeners – it’s time to show off the fruits of your hard work in our Bloomin’ Marvellous competition

Residents Bryan and Mary Saunders at Avocet House, Milton                 Picture: Chris Moorhouse
Residents Bryan and Mary Saunders at Avocet House, Milton Picture: Chris Moorhouse

They have made sure their homes are bloomig marvellous – but how about you?

Today The News launches its annual competition to find the best gardens and well-tended spaces across the area – and we want to see your efforts.

Residents, from left, Barbara Carter, Bess Sait, Bryan and Mary Saunders, Tony Desmond, Ken Sait, and Sheila and Maurice White at Avocet House, Milton                 Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Residents, from left, Barbara Carter, Bess Sait, Bryan and Mary Saunders, Tony Desmond, Ken Sait, and Sheila and Maurice White at Avocet House, Milton Picture: Chris Moorhouse

This hot and dry summer has obviously proved a watering challenge to gardeners,  but the residents of Avocet House in Milton have shown that the weather does not hold them back, as every home at the sheltered accommodation in Milton has beautiful hanging baskets and is bedecked with colourful pots.

Mary Saunders, 77, organised the beautiful display of colours.

The gardening project at Avocet House started seven years ago when Mary decided that she was fed up with looking at plain walls all the time.

The resident of 13 years said: ‘ I do this because everyone is constantly staring at bare walls through their kitchen windows. The other residents really appreciate it because the plants are nice to look at.’

Residents Bryan and Mary Saunders, and Bess Sait Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Residents Bryan and Mary Saunders, and Bess Sait Picture: Chris Moorhouse

There are over 30 hanging baskets around the site and numerous pots, although Mary organises the gardening for the most part. She is helped by another resident Tony who waters the plants every evening.

Mary explained: ‘ A few residents put a couple of extra pots out with the baskets, and Tony helps water them every evening.’

Seed planting starts as early as February and March. Mary plants the seeds in her greenhouse and then re-pots them as soon as they are ready.

The hard work around beautiful flowers have previously won awards. Mary won Silver and Bronze in the Portsmouth in Bloom competition two years ago.

Residents, from left, Barbara Carter, Bess Sait, Bryan and Mary Saunders, Tony Desmond, Ken Sait, and Sheila and Maurice White Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Residents, from left, Barbara Carter, Bess Sait, Bryan and Mary Saunders, Tony Desmond, Ken Sait, and Sheila and Maurice White Picture: Chris Moorhouse

She said: ‘It’s a shame the council no longer appreciate what we do. And it’s a shame the competition has not continued.’

She continued: ‘The residents here appreciate what I do,they gain pleasure from it, and I love doing it so it is a win-win situation.’

Even throughout the colder months Mary plants winter pansies to keep the warm colours.

PANEL 

The Bloomin’ Marvellous competition will be judge by News expert Brian Kidd, and the closing date for entry is Friday, August 3. 

Send in several pictures of your garden to bloominmarvellous@thenews.co.uk or send them to Byron Melton, The News, 1000 Lakeside, Western Road, Northarbour, Portsmouth, PO6 3EN. 

Include your full name, daytime telephone number and address with the photographs or e-mails you send to us. Unfortunately we’re not able to return posted prints.