A local gardener is urging green-fingered residents to spruce up the community as part of the national Cultivation Street gardening campaign.
Inver Garden Centre owner and Horticultural Trade Association member John Matthews wants local schools and community groups to demonstrate their pride in the town, as well as being in with a chance to win thousands of pounds’ worth of gardening vouchers.
The programme’s judges will consider entries from community gardens, school gardens, front gardens, small spaces as well as judging the Garden Centre Ambassador of the Year.
Prizes come in the form of National Garden Gift vouchers.
“The aim of Cultivation Street is to encourage people to get into gardening and transform their local community,” John told the Times.
“The competition is Uk-wide, but last year a school from Antrim won an award so local people are definitely in with a chance.
“We at Inver Garden Centre are ambassadors for the scheme, and we have been going out and giving advice and guidance to encourage people to make our community look better, for example by putting up hanging baskets.
“We sent a letter to all the schools in the area to advise them of the scheme. It’s good to get local schools involved as the pupils then grow up to become keen gardeners. The council does a good job but it can only do so much.”
Cultivation Street was founded in the nineties by TV gardener David Domoney to recognise and reward communities that are caring for their streets, as well as encouraging other communities to join together and start anew. While the scheme originally focused on front gardens, it soon expanded to include community gardening projects, neighbourhood schemes and school gardens.
The first prize in the community garden category is a £10,000 voucher, while the second prize is worth £2000 and the third prize is £1000. There are also two prizes of £500 for those who are highly commended.
School gardens can win £2000 of vouchers for the first prize, £1000 for the second prize and £500 for the third prize.
Meanwhile, those who win the front garden and small spaces categories will receive £1000 worth of gardening vouchers each.
In addition, the first prize for Garden Centre Ambassador of the Year is £250 of vouchers, while the second prize is £150 of vouchers and the third is £100 of vouchers.
Organisers say that the competition will be based on community spirit and pride as well as horticultural skills.
“I think this is a campaign that embraces the very best of community pride and spirit,” said David.
“I hope we are supporting people who have been hugely successful with their own communities and inspiring others to give it a go.”
To order a free starter pack, visit www.daviddomoney.com. For information ring Gary Bissett at Inver Garden Centre on 02828276351.