Aylesbury In Bloom

We are now accepting entries for the 2016 Aylesbury in Bloom Competition.

Spring is in the air, and with summer just around the corner it’s time to get out into the garden and get digging to make your outdoor space – no matter how big or small – amazing.

The competition is open to anyone resident in the Parish of Aylesbury town of any age, local schools, organisations and businesses. The garden(s) entered must also be located in the parish of Aylesbury town.

You can enter as many categories as you like, and the competition is completely free to enter. Individuals, families, businesses, schools or residential groups can enter. Entrants under 18 will require consent from parents or guardians before entering.

Judging will take place during June, July and August and the judging panel will be comprised of people who are knowledgeable gardeners. They will be accompanied by an Aylesbury Town Councillor or staff.

Confirmation of the identity of the judges, and the exact judging date and estimated time will be sent to you in due course.

An award ceremonies will take place in July and August and dates are yet to be confirmed.

To download an application form click here: AiB 2016 Application Form

Closing date for entries is Friday 17 June 2016.

Click on the below for judging criteria:

2016 Judging Criteria – Residents
2016 Judging Criteria – Schools
2016 Judging Criteria – Businessess and Organisations

For terms and conditions click here: Terms and Conditions 2016

To enter over the phone, or if you would like an application form posted to you, call us on 01296 425678.

Maureen Pateman, one of our competition judges from 2014 and a very keen gardener has the following advice and tips for everyone:

In planning your flower beds try not to create a ‘dot’ effect but, where possible, use plants in multiples of three which gives far more impact. Pale colours of blue, pink and lilac harmonise well as do the hot colours of yellow, red and orange. The use of white can give a bed a lift.

Try to mix heights and textures, traditionally shorter plants will be at the front of a border with taller ones at the back. An interesting effect can be achieved by planting a few spiky or feathery plants such as tall grasses and maidenhead or asparagus fern amongst them.

With the ever increasing price of plants in the garden centres it makes sense to grow your own as much as possible. Bedding plants create instant impact but do only last one season making them very expensive. Perennial plants can be germinated indoors in pots and will last for many years whilst cuttings of shrubs can be inserted in a spare piece of ground with a little sand at the base, usually in the autumn. Even roses can be propagated in this way.

Interesting and quirky items can give a garden character. In last year’s gardens we saw a bath planted up with small plants, a shed painted to resemble a beach hut and a small bridge over a flower bed. As long as there are not too many of them, items such as a sundial, a large unusually shaped pot or an old wooden ladder supporting climbing plants will all catch the eye. A free standing trellis can be used to divide a garden up and also give some height.

Scent is very important in a garden, a good way to appreciate it is by using large pots or raised beds made of broken crazy paving or wood. Strongly scented herbs such as red sage, various thymes (which could be anything from apple to pineapple) and rosemary can be used in cooking whilst pinks, lavender and lemon balm give enormous pleasure. For reliability and colour geraniums never fail, try the more unusual angel or regal pelargoniums or those with scented leaves.

At the heart of your garden is the soil. The healthier this is and the more worms you have is the most important factor in the quality of the plants you grow. The excellent chicken pellets (or the powdered, smelly chicken manure) can be used everywhere: flower and vegetable beds, around roses, shrubs and hedges.

Bees love all the more open, single flowers, not doubles where access is difficult, late flowering plants such as michaelmas daisies (asters) and sedums (ice plant) are useful for late in the season. Buddlieas are the classic plants for butterflies, easy to keep under control if pruned in March. Shorter varieties are also now available.

Honeysuckle provides wonderfully perfumed flowers and shelter for birds; cotoneaster shrubs produce summer flowers and berries for thrushes and blackbirds in the winter. Don’t be too tidy, there is no need to cut back plants until early spring when new growth is stirring. This will provide shelter for small creatures over winter and sights such as goldfinches and small birds feeding on the seed heads of lavender, oregano and verbena. Ivy, if not allowed to become too rampant, feeds birds and insects and provides shelter for overwintering butterflies. Do try and find a corner for a log pile.

Even the smallest pond will house frogs and newts providing fish are not introduced, but do try for a minimum depth of 18″.

The more wildlife you encourage in your garden the more alive and satisfying it will be; don’t forget to have a comfortable seating area to enjoy it.