A group of 17 volunteers from the Wimborne Community Garden travelled to the South and South East in Bloom Awards Ceremony at RHS Wisley on Friday (29th September). After a look round the impressive gardens in the morning they attended the Awards Ceremony in the afternoon.

The Garden was judged back in the Summer in two categories. Firstly "It's Your Neighbourhood 2023" and secondly "Our Community 2023". There was jubilation when the results were announced as in the first of the two the Garden achieved Level 5 Outstanding. In the second the Garden not only won Gold but also was the overall winner in the Category. The Prizes were presented by Mark Porter, Chairman of the Britain in Bloom Federation and a RHS Vice President.


Photo: Our Community Gold Award: Sandi Cook (left) and Jane Benson (right) receive the Gold Award Certificate and Overall Winners Trophy from Mark Porter.

The garden, started in May 2022 by a small band of enthusiastic volunteers has gradually developed over the past 17 months so that it now boasts several very productive vegetable beds and flower borders. The garden grows produce to share with Wimborne Food Bank, the Wimborne Community Kitchen as well as helping to source food for Beaucroft College's cafe, which is now open to the public on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. The Judge, Mr John Lockwood picked up on all these things and that numerous groups use the garden such as the local Scouts, Brownies and Cubs, the nursery school, Canford students and Year 9 Q.E. students have also been involved. The fact that the community is so heavily involved with the garden was seen as a very positive thing and especially of course the fact that it is helping to give Beaucroft students valuable and enjoyable horticultural experiences. As the garden has grown physically so has the band of volunteers and Mr Lockwood mentioned in his report " Notable too is the range of expertise from the volunteers working on this which has made it all a success." He went on to say "The whole project deserves to be known beyond Wimborne, so that other local groups can benefit from your experiences and expertise." The garden was not set up with the focus on winning medals but having affirmation that the garden is developing well is quite delightful.


Photo: Neighbourhood Award: Martyn Curtler (left) and Jane Benson (right) receive the "It's Your Neighbourhood" Award Certificate from Mark Porter.

Jane, the volunteer Manager of the Garden speaking after the Awards Ceremony said, "We were absolutely thrilled with the outcome of the awards! We felt that our efforts had been validated and that we had been given assurance that we are heading in the right direction. The report praised us very highly but said what we have to do now is 'keep going' and with the continued support and encouragement from the community, that is exactly what we intend to do! Watch this space!"

The garden is open for anyone to enjoy, either to work or just to sit in every Wednesday morning and Friday and Sunday afternoons.

Wisley ceremony photos - Amanda Burton