Scarborough’s gardening Oscars saw the town’s green-fingered talent take to the stage for the Scarborough in Bloom Best Kept Gardens Awards.
The annual awards ceremony, held at the Spa complex and attended by 400 people, saw local gardeners of all ages honoured for their gardening work throughout the year.
The Mayor of Scarborough, Cllr Helen Mallory, presented certificates and prizes and payed tribute to the efforts of community groups across the Borough who give thousands of volunteer hours to look after the towns and villages where they live.
Showing their credentials as Master Gardeners were the staff at Combe Hay who were awarded the Best Residential or Sheltered Housing trophy and were adjudged to have the best overall garden in the entire competition.
Janet Whitaker was doubly delighted with her awards of Best Container Garden and sharing the award for Best Community or Neighbourhood with Joseph Rowntree Housing Association (Danes Dyke) for the hard work and dedication she puts into the area surrounding St Mary’s Street in the Old Town.
The Downe Arms at Wykeham was also celebrating after scooping the Scarborough in Bloom award for Best Kept Hotel or Guesthouse this being only the second time they had entered the competition.
Roger Burnett, Scarborough Council’s community environment officer and compere for the evening with radio presenter Fay Yeomans, said he was delighted with such a great turn out, which included more than 60 young people.
He said: “Increasingly, many schools are incorporating horticulture and environmental science into the curriculum introducing children to the joys of gardening and growing at an early age.”
Braeburn School children were praised by judges for their knowledge and enthusiasm despite their tender years. They were awarded the Best Kept School Trophy after previously winning the Scarborough in Bloom Vice Chairman’s Cup at last year’s ceremony, with teacher, Bev Chapman, given a special mention for her dedication to the gardening gang at the school.
This year’s Scarborough in Bloom Vice Chairman’s Cup award to Young People went to St Peter’s RC School, with judges said to be “taken aback” when inspecting the school after seeing chickens in the school grounds.
“When we were at school the only chicken you found was on the lunch menu,” they commented, adding: “The school is really taking steps forward to bring the children in to contact with both plants and livestock.”
Emma Bagley was also praised for her horticultural skills not only helping her dad, Simon, cultivate the stunning spiral staircase of flowers on Victoria Road but for tending her own small patch of garden to a very high standard.
Another gardening trio applauded were siblings Daisy, Freddie and Mahtilda Pugh who help their parents with their allotment garden in the Old Town and impressed the judges with their knowledge and ability.
In this Olympic Year Scarborough in Bloom chose to award the Best New Entry Award to Northstead School. Praise was given to Richard Trousdale who organises the garden club and to Janet and Ruth from Woodlands Allotments who volunteer their time to go into school and help with Garden Club every week.
Volunteers from Reighton and Speeton in Bloom and Flixton and Folkton in Bloom were honoured for the progress they have made this year, while Linda Harper, chairman of Peasholm Park Friends, was presented with The Chairman’s Award by the Mayor in recognition of the way she had taken over the reigns from former chairman, Christine Mark, described as “a hard act to follow”.
With the terrible weather conditions faced this year and having to take the decision to cancel the original date of the Peasholm Park Centenary Celebration, Mrs Harper worked around the clock to reschedule the event to ensure it took place. Judges said there was “never a day that goes by that she isn’t there either litter picking or pruning”.
2012 marked the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and in recognition of this, Scarborough in Bloom awarded five special Diamond Awards to the entrants who the judges thought have excelled and maintained such high standards over a number of years.
They went to Andy and Debbie Whitelaw, Philip Dixon, Rosedale Manor, The Newcastle Packet and The Park Manor Hotel.