Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 11.54.39Green-fingered residents are being urged to make 2016 their year to bloom by taking part in Darlington’s annual competition to find the best gardens and displays.

Darlington in Bloom aims to celebrate the efforts of local individuals, businesses and community groups who help make the borough a more attractive place to live and work

There are six categories in the competition:

  • Best garden
  • Best yard
  • Best business –  large or small, from pubs and restaurants to larger firms within their own grounds
  • Best community garden – includes social housing gardens where the garden is maintained by the community
  • Best alternative garden – non-traditional garden that can include window boxes, flower tubs and displays or a school garden tended by pupils
  • The People’s Choice award – the public will vote for their favourite from a shortlist of entries

Entrants are asked to send in one or two photographs of their garden, along with a short description, from which the judges will draw up a shortlist of gardens to visit for each of the first five categories. The judges will then choose five winners, while the others will be put forward into the People’s Choice category, where the winner will be chosen via social media vote. Votes can also be cast at Darlington Library.

Councillor Nick Wallis, Darlington Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Leisure and Transport, said:

“Darlington in Bloom has become a popular event on the gardening calendar and it’s always a pleasure to see the fantastic efforts of local people which help make Darlington a brighter, greener and more pleasant place to be.

“I would encourage local people, businesses, organisations and community groups to send in their photographs for their chance to win.”

Budding entrants are reminded that while it’s not a photographic competition, you need to send in a picture that shows off the garden at its best to help the judges draw up their shortlist. When taking your photo try to frame it so it shows the best view of your garden, or its most interesting feature, and think about the light and weather conditions.

The pictures will be used to select a shortlist. Only shortlisted gardens will be visited by the judges, who will be looking for:

  • First impressions – something with the ‘wow’ factor;
  • Use of colour, perspective and shape;
  • Design, seasonal interest and, if you’ve entered before and changes/improvements;
  • Maintenance standards – entrants’ own work;
  • Environmental awareness and plant choice.

Winners of each category will receive a £25 gardening voucher. The closing date for entries is Friday 22 July and entry is free.

Entry forms are available on the Council’s website at: www.darlington.gov.uk/darlingtoninbloom or by calling 01325 405827. Entrants need to provide a short description of their garden as well as an up-to-date photograph and these should be emailed to mark.riddle@darlington.gov.uk. Alternatively you can  post your entry to Darlington in Bloom c/o Darlington Borough Council, Room 106, Town Hall, Darlington, DL1 5QT or drop it off at the Customer Contact Centre at the Town Hall (mark FAO Room 106).

Judging and voting for the People’s Choice award will take place in August with the winners announced in September.