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Flower Hamlets: Prizes collected by budding gardeners

17Green-fingered residents collected gardening gongs last week (December 8) at the Tower Hamlets in Bloom award ceremony in Mile End Park.

From balconies, community gardens and allotments to patios, businesses and schools, the competition is open to anyone who makes the most of open spaces.
Categories included best allotment, best community growing site, best education and best wildlife friendly garden.
The competition is not just for experienced gardeners but for schools, community organisations and novice gardeners alike. It is part of a nationwide scheme to encourage people to become interested in plants, wildlife and the environment.
Each category had a first, second and third prize with a total of 12 categories and additional special awards.
The Phoenix School won the new Innovation Award for transforming small patches of concrete into valuable green spaces, including even roof gardens. They also developed an aqua fish farm.
Melvyn Smith from Winterton Community Garden won the individual Gardener of the Year Award for hard work over the years in transforming a disused derelict residential space into a community garden, and also helping set up a farm. In a similar vein, the Lifetime Achievement Award went to Margaret Cox from Teesdale Community Garden.
Jackie Harris won overall Gardener of the Year 2015. Her citation says that her “willingness, creativity, passion, and their love for gardening has not gone unnoticed by members of the public. Jackie has a strong passion for gardening and over the years the judges have observed her front balcony area develop with more variety of planting.”
Spitalfields City Farm won the overall award for an organisation, recognising the work of its “dedicated hard working staff and volunteers who have helped create an amazing community central point, benefiting local schools, community groups and locals residents.”
All residents and participants who took part in the competition were invited to attend the awards evening.
Mayor John Biggs said: “People don’t always realise just how much green space there is in Tower Hamlets, and how many dedicated people keep our green spaces looking great.
“The Tower Hamlets in Bloom awards are a long-time local tradition and a great way of celebrating the people who put time and skill into giving us open spaces to be proud of.”
Cllr Asma Begum, cabinet member for culture added, “The Tower Hamlets in Bloom competition celebrated gardening in all its variety, from well-kept front lawns to allotments and community growing sites, as well gardens for business and gardens that encourage wildlife. Well-deserved congratulations to all the winners!”