Over the 25 years it’s been running, the Daily Mail’s National Garden Competition has shown how many wonderful gardens there are in Britain.
For many of us, it’s our gardens that have kept us going this year, so it’s not surprising that the standard for 2020 was so high that the judges, led by renowned garden designer Tim Sharples, had a hard job whittling the 2,000 or so entries down to just four finalists.
‘It amazes us that we still flush out such fantastic gardens after all these years,’ says judge Hamish Webb. ‘The final four are all so different, yet perfectly reflect their creators. One thing we heard again and again was that gardens had saved these folk during the lockdown.’
Our winner will receive £2,000 and the legendary winner’s blue plaque. Read about the four finalists here, and decide which would be your choice.
The judges’ verdict will be announced at the end of September in Weekend.
A TASTE OF JAPAN IN SOUTH YORKSHIRE
Terry Wallace, 84, and his wife Rita, 80, both worked in supermarkets before retiring. They live in Sheffield.
‘We’ve lived here for 52 years. The house was a year or two old when we bought it, and the garden was just lawn front and back,’ says Terry.
‘We started working on the garden within a week of moving in, even though we were also working on the house and didn’t have much money to spend.
Terry Wallace, 84, and his wife Rita, 80, both worked in supermarkets before retiring. They live in Sheffield
‘We were so impatient to get started. The front garden and the back garden are quite different. We call the front garden, which is about 21ft by 30ft, our Spanish Garden.
‘It has a 16ft tall palm, and colourful plants like fuchsias, lobelias, agapanthus and pelargoniums.
‘There’s a small trough with a pool and some of my collection of bonsai. It’s popular with the neighbours – we get lots of nice comments as people walk by.
Japanese statues nestle among Lobelia cardinalis in the back garden – and Terry says they get lots of nice comments as people walk by
‘The back garden is slightly bigger and has a different feel. It’s largely inspired by my love of Japanese art and my admiration for Japanese gardens.
‘I’ve never been to Japan, although I feel a connection with it.
‘There are a lot of Japanese-style ornaments and figures, little pagodas and statues, which I made myself from concrete, and rocks and stone which I’ve brought into the garden, carrying them all myself.
What the judges said
‘A truly individual and life-long project, marrying an eclectic range of gardening influences to create a very personal and beautiful oasis.’
‘My grandchildren – Rita and I have a total of 18 grandchildren and great-grandchildren – can’t believe I used to carry all that weight myself.
‘One of my passions is for bonsai. My oldest is 45 years old and I have about 16 of them.