Garden Competition 2011

After many hours of meticulous note-taking, pacing along our streets and with careful consideration to every detail in our gardens on 27th & 28th June, our very well-qualified judge from the Botanic Gardens has eventually made his hard decisions!

Bridge Pl – Reid Terrace (H)
Reid Terrace (low) – Hugh Miller Pl (low)
Hugh Miller Pl (high) – Rintoul Pl (high)
Rintoul Pl (low)– Colville Pl (low)
Colville Pl (h) – Collins Pl (high)
Collins Pl (L)– Balmoral Pl  (H)
Balmoral Pl (L)– Dunrobin Pl   (H)
Dunrobin Pl (L)– Teviotdale Pl (H)
Teviotdale Pl (L)– Avondale Pl (H)
Avondale Pl (L)– Kemp Pl (H)
Kemp Pl (L)– Bell Pl (H)
Bell Pl (L) , Glenogle Pl, Ho, Terrace

Best Garden in the Colonies with prize, courtesy of The Buffalo Grill, Raeburn Place
Most Improved Garden wins a prize sponsored by Banks’ Florists, Raeburn Place

34 Reid Terrace
13 Hugh Miller Pl
22 Rintoul Place
4 Colville Place
29 Collins Place
26 Balmoral Pl
25 Dunrobin Pl
15 Dunrobin Pl
8 Teviotdale Pl
22 Kemp Place
31 Bell Place
6 Glenogle House

8 Teviotdale Pl

15 Rintoul Place

Here are the judge’s remarks:

“29 Collins Place ~ A modern take on the traditional lawn & borders. Great curves, water pump & pebbles. A bright Cotinus & a top heavy variegated Jasminum blinding out the washing pole.

26 Balmoral Place ~ A Hedera hedge to the pavement, a lawn with daisies & seating. Well planted & thickly planted to cover the soil. An unusual combination of Parthenocissus & ripe redcurrants clothing the wall.

25 Dunrobin Place ~ Good to see a greenhouse in situ & in use. Magnificent golden Hop climbing skywards to conquer the railings. An informal boundary hedge with a mature open canopy Silver Birch. Exhibiting showy white bark from trunk through the canopy.

15 Dunrobin Place ~ A well thought path leads from gate to door. This well proportioned garden has depth of planting near the house & gives the feel of a loved & cared for garden. The shed covered with Lonicera & Ivy does not dominate.

8 Teviotdale Place ~ The well manicured lawn with informal shape catches the eye. This is complimented by the fastidiously clipped Golden Privet hedge. From the wooden picket gate a traditional stone paved path leads straight to the door. Here is a rich planting combination of variegated Euonymus & a blue flowered Campanula.  The border soil is dark, weed free & richly organic. The compost bin & shed blend into the garden-scape. All complemented by a floriferous red flowered Clematis & a hanging basket lush with growth. 

22 Kemp Place ~ A traditional neighbourhood garden, a central lawn with perimeter border of herbaceous, annuals & woody shrubs. Neat & functional. A fine feathery foliage Fennel in the corner beneath Wisteria which covers the stair wall. Decorative ironwork containers with other pots & containers of Sweet William & Petunia.

31 Bell Place ~ A touch of the exotic, a Canna in a container, a Passion Flower growing in hope at the foot of the railings, Lavender beneath the bench for feet to brush over.  Also the traditional; half the area covered by lawn, strawberries in upright containers, seating, a bird bath & water butt.  Also young mixed planting at the base of the boundary railings for future screening.    

6 Glenogle House ~ A tidy organised feel to this garden, a swept path & a place for everything behind the Hedera hedge. Summer house, raised beds, seating area & a well mown lawn.  A glazed sink with interesting ground cover, Oxalis & a jasmine supported on the fence.

Of the four entries for the most improved garden, all were evenly matched in points awarded. The final decision came down to productivity and unprompted comments from several neighbours who mentioned how hard the couple at Rintoul Place had worked to improve their front garden.”

Unfortunately, there were no entries for the children’s category this year but we are delighted that we’re able to give an additional 3 prizes for gardens which were ‘highly commended’ by our judge:

11 Reid Terrace ~ There is a very sturdy wooden planter containing a riot of potted colour and also a prize specimen of Onopordium acanthum  

The garden at 26 Kemp Place, in the most improved category, was also deserving of recognition. Recently established lawn, a profusion of pots growing a wide and varied selection of plants. Herbs, Roses, annuals and perennials. Jasminum is progressing up a wall support along with a Ceanothus. The bin; surrounded by willow wattle to reduce its visual impact. The all important seating area to survey the good work done and watch the plants establish and grow.  

20 Rintoul Place ~ The promise of wine; a vigorous vine planted on the stair wall, south facing aspect may result in ‘Muller Thurgau’ producing a decent harvest.  Lawn, seating and bird feeders. Mixed planting at the pavement border. A poly greenhouse, raised planters with vigorous leafy rocket. A mature and secluded feel to this garden and bees a plenty on the Hebe flowers.  

There are many people who have managed to retain an old cottage garden feel to their immediate environment; others who have spent money and disregarded the past settling for a designed future. Then there are those who prefer wilderness. All have their place in the Colonies. I thought a truly exceptional range of gardens from the traditional, family, to edgy modern through cottage style to those rich in biodiversity.

What became obvious was the diverse range of plants within the 371 gardens that make up the Colonies horticultural community. It was also evident of the plant, propagate and share goodwill that exists between neighbours as there were many multiples of (especially) herbaceous plants that obviously shared a common chromosome. It was also rewarding to look down the streets and gain an impression of multiple gardens which included vegetation layers from ground cover rising with shrubs and hedges to a tree canopy. It is essential to balance the height of trees with the awareness of deep shade on a neighbour’s garden.

The most eclectic gardens have developed through the home owners own individual style. This is to be encouraged as individualism can always run riot in your own space.  Of the people I met and spoke to, all were enthusiastic and appreciated their area of green space.

There were many plants of interest including mature Rosemary and Philadelphus which both gave off heady scent from foliage and flower adding to the ambience of the areas. Old Roses including Rosa ‘ Chapeau de Napoleon, A fine specimen of the Cotton Thistle; Onopordium acanthium, A healthy Ginkgo biloba, a vigorous Grape Vine ‘Muller Thurgau’, the most magnificent Pittosporum tenuifolium and several white stemmed Birches; with one Betula pendula clipped close as a hedge.

Both designer and functional sheds along with Anderson shelters sat well with camouflaging plants. The wall space, fences and stair railings were consistently used to advantage to support climbing and other species. Degrees of privacy and seclusion had been developed through years of growth and judicious pruning.

It would be good to see more compost bins, wormeries and water butts introduced.

I appreciate the opportunity to judge the gardens competition. The standard was high and the decision making difficult due to the time and effort people have spent developing and maintaining their plant collection. It is good to know that there are so many dedicated to improving their neighbourhood environment.”

The Stockbridge Colonies Residents’ Association committee is extremely grateful to the Botanics for giving one of their key staff a significant amount of time to judge our community event and we would also like to thank the judge personally for dedicating several hours of his own precious free time to complete the difficult task so conscientiously.  We hope that all the winners enjoy their prizes  of a garden token and rosette as well as the praise which will be awarded by visiting admirers, keen to find inspiration for their own Colonies gardens.