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Cheshire Life Garden of the Year 2014 competition - the winners revealed

PUBLISHED: 16:29 20 December 2014 | UPDATED: 16:29 20 December 2014

Garden Comp winners  at Gordale Garden Centre, Wirral;     Rebekka O'Grady of Cheshire Life (left) with Calveley Primary School's Anni Trinder,  Kelly Spencer and Beverley Dolman (Head teacher) and pupils, Tianna Walton (6), Frank Peter Trinder (7) and Conor Smith (9) and Gordale Garden Centre directors, Jill and Peter Nicholson

Garden Comp winners at Gordale Garden Centre, Wirral; Rebekka O'Grady of Cheshire Life (left) with Calveley Primary School's Anni Trinder, Kelly Spencer and Beverley Dolman (Head teacher) and pupils, Tianna Walton (6), Frank Peter Trinder (7) and Conor Smith (9) and Gordale Garden Centre directors, Jill and Peter Nicholson

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School and green-fingered amateurs around the county entered our Garden of the Year 2014 competition. Now we reveal the winners

Garden Comp winners  at Gordale Garden Centre, Wirral;     Rebekka O'Grady of Cheshire Life (left) with Hilary and Mike Harrison and Calveley Primary School's Anni Trinder,  Kelly Spencer and Beverley Dolman (Head teacher) and pupils, Tianna Walton (6), Frank Peter Trinder (7) and Conor Smith (9) and also Gordale Garden Centre directors, Jill and Peter NicholsonGarden Comp winners at Gordale Garden Centre, Wirral; Rebekka O'Grady of Cheshire Life (left) with Hilary and Mike Harrison and Calveley Primary School's Anni Trinder, Kelly Spencer and Beverley Dolman (Head teacher) and pupils, Tianna Walton (6), Frank Peter Trinder (7) and Conor Smith (9) and also Gordale Garden Centre directors, Jill and Peter Nicholson

The green shoots of gardening enthusiasm are being cultivated at Calveley Primary School in Tarporley. And now the children’s enjoyment of their gardening project has been enhanced. They are the delighted winners of the school category in the Cheshire Life Garden of the Year 2014 competition, run in conjunction with Gordale Garden Centre at Ness on the Wirral.

The school submitted a detailed account with photographic evidence explaining how children and staff worked together enthusiastically on the project.

Senior teacher Kelly Humphreys explained that severe winter weather in January last year galvanised everyone to improve the area around the school building.

Meetings were held and in late February work began and a weekly after-school gardening club was launched. Now plants and vegetables grow as well as pretty flowers. A Cheshire Life photographer and writer will visit Calveley Primary in Spring and report on their developments and how they have used their prize of a £1,000 gift voucher from competition sponsors Gordale Garden Centre.

Mrs Beverley Dolman, Head Teacher said: ‘It’s incredible to have won this prize. We never thought in a million years we would win. The school garden started from a little idea so, we thought, let’s just get a few students involved but then it took off. With 97 students and 20 in the garden club, it’s a good percentage.

‘Our next venture, using the prize money, is working on the site around the car park. We would love to keep bees and we have joined a bee keepers association. Producing Calveley honey is the plan.’

Anni Trinder, Parent and Chair of Friends and Relatives of Calveley School (FROCS) explained how they plan to spend the prize voucher. ‘We hope to come back to Gordale with more children involved and they can go around the garden centre and select what they want. We can help with ideas, but if they take control, they will then look after it.’

Gordale owner Jill Nicholson (a former teacher) who judged the entries along with editor Louise Allen-Taylor and gardening writer Jacqui Brocklehurst, said: ‘It’s really good that the children are properly involved in their school garden. It’s clear that they are keen, enthusiastic and roll their sleeves up. We were impressed.’

Equally impressive but in a very different style was the garden at Oak Cottage, the home of Mike and Hilary Harrison in Timperley, near Altrincham.

They bought Oak Cottage - built in the early 1800s - in 1983 and have worked on both the house and garden ever since.

It had been a two-up two-down farmhouse with accommodation for workers, set in about a third of an acre.

Mike said: ‘Constraints of time and money meant that there was no master plan. The garden simply evolved as we reclaimed each little bit. Inevitably, there have been changes to our original work and planting over the years, but that’s part of the fun of gardening. We have one simple rule and that is that everything must have a “cottage look”.

‘It’s fantastic to have won. We enjoyed the whole process of applying for the competition, especially doing the presentation as it made us relive the whole progress and history of our garden. We do little bits in stages. With the prize money, we plan to do quite a big terraced shrub area and replace the heathers in the rockery,’ said Mike.

Hilary added: ‘It’s a great thrill to win the Cheshire Life garden of the year competition. Working on our garden has just been a joy, right from the beginning.’

Cheshire Life Picture Editor John Cocks will photograph the winning gardens in the Spring and they will be featured in the magazine shortly after.

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