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Gardening competitions come to Ruislip

Entries for Hillingdon in Bloom and the Autumn Show have opened today following an official launch event at the Great Barn in Ruislip on Friday 19 April.

Gardeners and growers old and new are being encouraged to enter the popular plant-growing competitions for 2024 as the competition hopes to broaden the range of entrants to include more first-time competitors, bringing with them new energy and ideas to the shows, which are a highlight among horticultural fans in the borough.

Hillingdon in Bloom, the council’s annual gardening competition, is an opportunity for residents to learn new gardening skills and produce bright, creative and environmentally-friendly displays at their homes. Whereas the Autumn Show is a chance for entrants to showcase their fresh produce, with the entries displayed and judged at a celebration event in September.

Residents don’t need expert gardening skills or swathes of green space to take part, anyone with an enthusiasm to keep the borough looking green and pleasant or with a passion for home produce is encouraged to enter.

Last year, Maxine Coleman, from Cowley, took home first prize in the ‘Best Novelty Garden’ category for her pink-themed garden after only taking up gardening in lockdown.

She said: “I’ve just got the bug now. I’ve entered every year since and I just really enjoy the experience.

“People should enter, there’s absolutely nothing to lose, it doesn’t cost anything to enter and you may win a prize.”

Aside from the gardening category, Hillingdon in Bloom also includes ‘best hanging basket’ or ‘best balcony’ categories, while the Autumn Show is not only a chance to show off your home-grown vegetables and fruit, but also your family favourite jams and chutneys, as well as floristry displays and arts and crafts. The final show, which is open to anyone to attend, takes place in Ruislip at the Great Barn on Saturday 14 September.

Cllr Eddie Lavery, Hillingdon Council’s Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services, said: “These growing competitions are a real celebration of our borough bringing welcome colour and highlighting the impressive creativity of residents.

“The range of categories make the competitions accessible to anyone, regardless of experience and as well as the chance to win some great prizes, they encourage getting outside, keeping healthy and active as well the opportunity to develop new skills. So, this year, we’re urging more first-time entrants to give it a go.”

Both competitions are free to enter, and winners will receive garden centre gift vouchers, rosettes and certificates.

For the full list of categories, details on how to enter, entry deadlines and the terms and conditions visit www.hillingdon.gov.uk/bloom and  www.hillingdon.gov.uk/autumnshow.