If you’ve never entered a gardening competition before, the thought of it can feel quite intimidating, but Wight in Bloom is free and easy to enter, and great fun too. You don’t have to own a stately home, a 100 acre wood or even a garden! There are 11 different categories, and one of them is bound to be right for you.
Rest assured, the backbone of Wight in Bloom is the amateur gardener who showcases their work in small front gardens, window boxes and hanging baskets, or enters the competition to have their vegetable plots or water features judged. There’s even a category for younger people, as well as the more established community display categories.
Entering the competition is easy. All you have to do is decide which category you’re going for and then complete the entry form. You can do that online, or pick up a form from one of the Island’s garden centres, or print one out yourself, fill it in and post it off. There’s no charge to enter the competition, but you absolutely must put your entry form in before the 30th of June so that judging can take place in July.
The judges are looking for clever ideas, good use of colour and form, an imaginative mix of planting as well as the more obvious wow factor elements. But once again, big is not always best. If you have a passion for gardening, but just two hanging baskets and a window box, you’re likely to have just as much chance of being a winner as the owner of a 12 acre estate with an army of gardeners.
Judging takes place in July, usually by “mystery visit” without you knowing the actual day you’ll be judged. Most categories require your garden to be free to view and visible without having to step onto your property, although there are exceptions and these are explained on the entry forms. Once the judging has taken place you’ll receive a postcard to confirm judging has happened and you can then relax!
During August a short list of finalists is agreed, and those gardeners are notified and invited to attend the Awards ceremony, which happens in September. For the last three years our Wight in Bloom patron, TV gardener Alan Titchmarsh has attended the event and handed over the awards himself. As well as winning the all important Wight in Bloom certificate, there are a number of small prizes given out, including ferry tickets and goody bags from Liz Earle. The County Press newspaper publishes the list of winners and takes photos at the event.
It’s worth knowing that there are usually around 120 or so entries a year, so the odds of being selected as one of the finalists is really quite high, especially if you’ve taken an imaginative approach with your green fingers.
If you’re already entering a local bloom competition (like Bembridge in Bloom for instance) there is nothing to stop you from entering Wight in Bloom as well. It also doesn’t matter if you use an army of professional gardeners or it’s just you, the judges take that kind of thing into account when they come to consider who the worthy winners should be.
So, if you’ve never entered, why not have a go this year? Most of all, Wight in Bloom is here to encourage as many people as possible to get out into the garden and do a little to help brighten up the island for us all to enjoy. It’s nice to receive some recognition for your hard work, so fill out an entry form today and you really could be a winner.
Photo: Daily Express: Dazzling displays with contrasting colours: Alan Titchmarsh on bright garden containers >