Hat-trick for town in Bloom competition

South and South East In Bloom Awards. Small Park Awards Gold, Almonry Garden, Battle.'Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins presents the award to Gary Champion and Ann Ekins.
South and South East In Bloom Awards. Small Park Awards Gold, Almonry Garden, Battle.'Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins presents the award to Gary Champion and Ann Ekins.

BATTLE once again triumphed at the annual South and South East In Bloom Awards, scoring a hat-trick of awards including another Gold for the Almonry Garden.

Despite a challenging few months with temperamental weather, the garden scooped Gold in the Small Park category, whilst Battle won a Silver Gilt in the Small Town category and a Silver Gilt for the town’s cemetery.

The results were revealed at an award ceremony at Ferneham Hall in Fareham where BBC TV gardener Chris Collins presented the main winners with an engraved glass trophy, and a certificate to all other entrants.

Gary Champion and Ann Ekins collected the Almonry Garden award.

Ann said: “It feels brilliant to have won this award. It’s a lovely small park to work in and it’s great to see it looking so good. We enjoy entering this competition because it draws the community together.”

The judges described the garden as “beautifully planted and maintained, and gives pleasure to the town’s residents, its visitors and its workers at break times.”

Battle Town Council works closely with Beautiful Battle volunteers who help keep the garden looking at its best.

Simon Alexander, chairman of Beautiful Battle, said: “Our volunteers thoroughly enjoy what they do but the Gold award makes it all the more rewarding. From the early days when pruning and weeding were the main tasks we have made significant changes to the planting, providing a new herb bed in the lower garden and creating more of a cottage garden feel to the top garden. The condition of the lawns has also greatly improved. In the coming weeks we will be planting over 2000 bulbs to ensure a colourful display next spring.”

The challenging summer weather took its toll as not one of the entries achieved a Gold in the Small Towns category.

Battle In Bloom chairman Ron Harris said: “Despite the rain, wind and cold we achieved the same standard as in previous years.

“Having decided to plant more drought resistant plants, this year the weather contrived to work against us so I congratulate and thank all those who worked extra hard to ensure that the town looked as colourful and welcoming as ever.”

Gardeners at Saxonwood Court were recognised for their efforts with an ‘outstanding’ mark in the Neighbourhoods category.