BS4 Good Garden awards are back

April 29 2016
Good Garden awards are back

THE BS4 Good Garden awards are back for a second year – and already the event is certain to be bigger and better than last year. Below you'll also find some tips on making the most of a shady garden by Voice reader Jools Granville.

THE BS4 Good Garden awards are back for a second year – and already the event is certain to be bigger and better than last year.

In 2015, hundreds of residents from 50 streets made the best out of their front gardens and scores of them were rewarded with window stickers.

This year, 58 streets have already entered, the area covered is getting bigger, and more sponsors are on board.

Organiser Ruth Drury is delighted, and is very proud to have found a new angle for the competition in conjunction with the family of a Brislington gardener who entered the competition last year but has sadly died. “We have been given some money in memory of Evelyn Gay – it will be a reward for young gardeners,” said Ruth.

“We are asking parents to encourage their children to try their hand at gardening, and to mark the area their child has done with a painted stone. That way the judges will know the child has entered.

“The prize isn’t going to be a big cup – it will just be a memento that will remind the child what they have achieved.”

Ruth is also pleased with the response from companies willing to back the awards. “We have had some really great sponsorship,” she said. “All the money has come from the community, instead of big chains.”

The main sponsor is Wild Goose estate agents of St John’s Lane. They are supported by The Knowle pub, gardening firms Gardenology and A to Z Garden Services, Arnos Vale violin maker Edward Gaut, craft shop Make & Do from Sandy Park, and the South Bristol Voice.

Judges will be patrolling each street in late June and July. The overall winner will receive a meal for two at The Knowle. To find out more, search Facebook for BS4 garden competition.

• In Totterdown, community group Tresa runs its own Front Gardens awards.


The lazy novice gardener’s tips – shady spaces

By Jools Granville

Maximise reflected light in a weekend

A cleverly placed old mirror, piece of reflective art or brightly coloured paint can make a huge difference to an area that doesn’t get a huge amount of sunlight. Garden paint is still all the rage at the moment with a huge selection of shades from ice cream pastels to tropical blue and zingy lime green. You can give your garden a quick make over by recycling an old mirror or two and changing the colour of your garden table and pots or spend the weekend repainting walls, fences and steps.

Contrast colours for contemporary style drama

Black, grey and dark brown fencing and garden furniture seems to be very fashionable at the moment. The dark colours certainly offer a striking contrast to bright foliage and I’m told that bold use of darker colours can make an area feel bigger and give structure. I’ve found that this use of contrast works really well in shady areas – Capability Brown used the trick so it must be a good one! For those who prefer to have a lighter fence, simply contrast with darker foliage. To create a contemporary theme without breaking the bank stick to one or two colours for flowers or go for a few statement structural pieces such as astilbe or acanthus.

Create a pretty cottage garden

For a cottage garden theme choose a number of shades and sprinkle flowering plants liberally. Anemones, roses and lungwort work well in partial shaded areas and I think bleeding hearts are a cheap essential. Parsley and coriander’s leaves tend to last longer in shady conditions whilst thyme and rosemary fare well in shade so there is no reason not to mix herbs with your flowers.

Shady spots can still be secure whilst looking beautiful.

Often we find our shady spots around the perimeter of the garden where we may want the extra bit of privacy and security. Hedging such as dog rose does well in the shade and offer beautiful colour throughout the year with foliage, attractive flowers and gorgeous edible hips. Blackthorn gives us sloes (gin anyone?) and a combination of these hedges also provides a dense, prickly covering for a vulnerable spot as well as great habitat for wildlife.

Add some texture with coloured foliage

Make a bold, dramatic statement in the shady parts of your garden by combining plants with different foliage textures and colours. Blue toned plants look great in the shade, think varieties of hosta, purple coleus and blue star. Alternatively shades of gold and yellow shine out in the shade - so take advantage of them to illuminate dim spots.

Low maintenance shade gardening

If, like me, you prefer to enjoy the sunshine rather than weed in the shade, there are some tried and tested methods of keeping maintenance of shady areas to a minimum. Crowd out weeds with low growing ground covering plants to create a carpet of colour under a few choice specimens. This is also good for you budget! Try vinca or elephant’s ears.

Damp shade

Take inspiration from the Victorian’s and create a grotto with feathery ferns, ladies mantal and lily of the valley.

Deep shade

If you have a very shady patch there are plants that can tolerate less than 3 hours sunlight a day. The selection is much more limited but includes lily of the valley, some honeysuckles and firethorn (aka pyracanthus). If these hardy specimens don’t take in the area try mushrooms and rhubarb!