Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 16.28.17KEEN and budding gardeners are encouraged to polish their spades and hose down their hoes as this year’s Darlington in Bloom competition gets underway.

Following last year’s interim competition which was hosted on Darlington Borough Council’s Facebook page, the competition will return to a more traditional format but with an element where residents can vote for their favourite garden.

Last year’s competition attracted 37 entries and 2153 votes through Facebook, as well as 96 votes at Crown Street Library.

This year there will be six categories: Best garden; Best yard; Best business;

Best community garden (this includes social housing gardens where the garden is maintained by the community); Best alternative garden (this includes window boxes, flower tubs and allotments) and the People’s Choice award where people can vote online for their favourite.

Judges will visit the shortlisted entries in the first five categories. Once the winners have been chosen, the other shortlisted entrants will be put forward into the People’s Choice category where the winner will be the entry with the most votes on social media.

Winners of each category will win a £25 gardening voucher.

Entry forms are available online or by calling 01325 466645. Entrants need to provide a short description of their garden, as well as an up-to-date photo.

Judging will take place in July and winners will be selected in August.

Councillor Nick Wallis, Cabinet Member for Environment, Leisure and Transport said: “Darlington in Bloom continues to change and thrive.  Last year we hosted a simpler version online and we were amazed at the response. This year we have decided to combine both elements of what has always been a popular competition.

“Darlington is a town with a strong floral tradition and I hope that this, along with the new format, will encourage local businesses and the wider community to get involved and show off their gardening skills.”

The closing date for entries is Friday 17 July – more information about the competition and judging is available at: www.darlington.gov.uk/darlingtoninbloom or by calling 01325 466645