Residents put their gardens to the test in annual competition
ONLY the biggest begonias and most colourful chrysanthemums were on show this year for the Cheltenham Tenants and Leaseholders annual garden competition.
The voluntary forum, which acts as a standards watchdog for Cheltenham Borough Homes, has given prizes to the best front gardens, borders and hanging baskets in the town.
The prizes were handed out recently with nine keen gardeners taking away prizes.
Maurice Beard won the best border category in the competition he has been entering for eight years.
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His begonias, marigolds, pansies and hibiscus helped him take first prize at the prize giving at St Margaret's Hall in Up Hatherley.
The 85-year-old from Whaddon picked up the overall winner prize and also came second in the community garden section.
The former gardener said: "I have been a keen gardener all my life and I am always growing my own plans.
"I have been entering for quite a few years and my garden is always quite colourful.
"I like to have something to look at while I'm in my kitchen doing my washing up and I really do enjoy it – I wouldn't enter if I didn't like it.
"It has been a bit of a terrible year for the gardens. When the weather first got bad and nothing was growing, I was just going to give up, but I persevered and thought I would take a chance.
"It definitely has picked up and got better towards the end of the summer, but I guess everybody has been in the same boat."
Roy Hoddy, from Charlton Kings, won the best front garden section with his shrubs, petunia and geraniums. The 76-year-old retired chauffeur has also been entering the competition and winning prizes for many years.
He said: "I spend around four hours a week looking after the garden. The competition always has a great team of judges who talk to you and discuss your garden, and I like that about this competition.
"People always stop and comment on my garden when they are passing and that's what keeps me going."
The forum was established in 1999 to bring attention to leaseholder issues.