Get growing for Hillingdon's annual horticultural competitions
Friday 6 May: Hillingdon's budding horticulturalists are being invited to show off their skills as the borough's popular plant-growing competitions return for 2022.
Entries for Hillingdon in Bloom and the Autumn Show launched in April and offer residents the chance to win garden centre gift vouchers for show-casing their growing skills.
Hillingdon in Bloom is an opportunity for applicants to learn new gardening skills, produce creative displays and keep fit and active while outdoors. The competition also helps keep the borough looking green and colourful.
Many of the regular categories are making a return, including, 'Best window box', 'Best residential garden'. If you've a smaller space, then there's the 'Best display on an open fronted balcony', or 'Best hanging basket' sections.
The 'Roome Cup (contributing to wildlife conservation)' is always popular as is 'Park and bloom' and overall 'Best display.' And if you've never got involved before, the 'Best first-time entrant' could be the category for you.
The 'Best business' category returns following a brief hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and new for this year is a special 'Best Platinum Jubilee display' category to commemorate Her Majesty The Queen's 70 years of service. Displays for this category can be red, white and blue to reflect the Union Flag, or purple and white to match the official Queen's Platinum Jubilee emblem.
Previous 'Best Display' winner, Lyn Sutherland, says people will enjoy taking part in Hillingdon in Bloom, even if they end up in a battle to keep slugs off their petunias, as she did.
She said: "It's great fun and definitely worth the effort. It makes you feel good and cheers you up.
"I was really surprised to win, because you always think your garden is not as good as everybody else's but it's really fun because all your neighbours and the people passing by all stop and talk to you, so it's really nice and it gets you involved in the community. And you don't need a lot of space to do a lot."
The Autumn Show is an opportunity for residents to try growing fruit, vegetables and other fresh produce. It's open to everyone, from seasoned sprout producers to those just learning with their first ever vegetable patch.
There's a wide range of categories to enter in, covering fruit, vegetables, herbs, home produce, floristry, art and a children's section.
Peter Clements is a previous Autumn Show winner for the produce he grows on his allotment - where he most enjoys growing French beans.
Speaking of the show, he said: "It's a well-organised function and we really enjoy growing stuff, whether it be vegetables, or fruit of flowers and what we don't use we give away. I give a lot away to the Harlington Hospice.
"But nothing's easy, it's all hard work, I'm on the plot seven days a week."
Residents are being encouraged to take part this year as both a celebration of the talent of the local growing community and to mark the Platinum Jubilee.
Perry Scott, Hillingdon Council's Director of Place, said: "We're delighted that our annual plant and produce-growing competitions return for 2022 better than ever and with a special Jubilee twist.
"They never fail to be popular with residents who each year astound us with their talent. It's fun but also helps create a greener, bright and welcoming borough, so we look forward to judging this year's entries."
For more information and to apply, visit www.hillingdon.gov.uk/bloom. The deadline for applications for Hillingdon in Bloom is Friday 29 July.
To find out more about the Autumn Show, visit www.hillingdon.gov.uk/autumnshow. Deadline for entries is Friday 2 September.