Search is on for best local amateur gardeners

Marcus Eyles, one of the judges. Photo: Dobbies.

Dobbies Bury St Edmunds is inviting amateur gardeners, of all ages and backgrounds from across the region, to enter its annual Not Your Average Gardener Awards which launched yesterday, World Environment Day (Monday, June 5).

Set to celebrate novice gardeners and enthusiasts alike the store is marking its fourth year of the awards with the help of a robust panel of horticultural and wildlife experts to crown four winners.

With four new categories, judges will be looking for a variety of gardeners of all abilities from across Bury St Edmunds to put themselves, or a friend or family member, forward to be in with the chance of scooping the  annual gardening prize.

Dobbies’ senior houseplant buyer and recently appointed Royal Horticultural Society chair of assessors, Claire Bishop, will join Dobbies’ horticultural director and judge, Marcus Eyles, to crown the new Creative Indoor Gardener and Little Eco Gardener categories.

Claire said: “It’s a real honour to be part of the Not Your Average Gardener Awards for its fourth year and I can’t wait to see the talent from our houseplant enthusiasts in Bury St Edmunds. The awards have been designed with full inclusivity in mind so we’re looking for people of all ages and skill levels to get in touch and tell us about their vibrant green space that they have a real passion for.”

RePollinate, a Scottish-based charity that conserves and enhances the UK’s threatened pollinators through education, scientific research and the creation of pollinator friendly habitats, will judge the Wildlife Friendly Garden category.

Leigh Biagi, project co-ordinator at RePollinate, is thrilled to be partnering with Dobbies on the judging panel.

She said: “We are so delighted to be asked to judge the Wildlife Friendly Gardener category of the awards. At RePollinate we are passionate about doing all we can to support nature in our green spaces, no matter how big or small that space may be and we know that this passion is shared by many gardeners. It will be exciting to see the entries and discover what people are doing to support sustainability and welcome nature into their gardens.”

Social media gardening expert, Michael Griffiths, aka The Mediterranean Gardener, joins the panel to judge the Plant to Plate Gardener category.

He said: “I’m delighted to be part of this year’s Not Your Average Gardener Awards and can’t wait to see all the fantastic entries from gardeners in Bury St Edmunds. It’s a great opportunity to celebrate the creativity and commitment of amateur gardeners who invest their time and skill into making wonderful outside spaces with a grow your own focus.”

There’s a prize pot of £4,000 to help successful applicants take their award-winning garden to the next level, each taking home a £1,000 giftcard to spend in their local Dobbies’ store. Team members will be on hand to help winners select the best sustainable products and plants for their space.

Entries close on Friday, June 30, and winners will be announced early August.

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