Toby Buckland judges gardening competition

On Wednesday 25 July, BBC gardening broadcaster Toby Buckland paid a visit to Millbrook Village to judge a gardening competition at the later living community.

The Gardeners’ World and Flower Shows presenter, and founder of the annual Toby’s Garden Festival at Powderham Castle, viewed the terrace and balcony gardens of residents at the village to determine the winners of the ‘Best Terrace’ and ‘Best Balcony’ competition.

Toby returned for the second year running to judge the competition, and this year also treated residents to a gardening demonstration to share his top tips for container gardening and looking after smaller garden spaces.  Home to many green-fingered residents, Millbrook Village has a good relationship with Toby; earlier this year, Millbrook Village sponsored the Sow, Grow, Cook tipi at Toby’s Garden Festival at Powderham Castle in April, where Toby delivered presentations on container gardening. 

Residents of Millbrook Village were invited to enter the competition and spent the weeks in the run-up carefully tending to their gardens in preparation.  Every property at Millbrook Village comes with either a terrace or balcony garden, and the competition this year had a focus on container gardening, judging the quality of the residents’ potted plants, which are ideal for smaller garden spaces.

After viewing the terraces and balconies entered into the competition, Toby crowned the winners of the two categories in the village’s central Italianate Garden.  Dianne Tattersfield won Best Terrace for her clever and inspirational way of grouping colour together, and Wendy Atkin won Best Balcony for her assortment of summer flowers and thoughtful arrangement on her balcony space.  The winners were each presented with an annual membership to the Royal Horticultural Society and all entrants were treated to refreshments in the landscaped communal garden.

Afterwards, Toby delivered a presentation on container gardening, demonstrating how best to pot and look after a variety of plants from summer into winter, and giving planting design ideas of what plants to combine for colour and interest in the garden.  Residents were given the opportunity to ask Toby their burning gardening questions, and Toby posed for photos with residents and the entrants of the competition.

Toby commented:  “I have been so impressed by the quality of the residents’ garden spaces at Millbrook Village here today. The village is clearly home to many passionate gardeners and it’s wonderful to see the creativity and dedication that keeps the village looking beautiful, particularly at this time of year when the gardens are in full bloom.”

Rebecca Parker, Group Events Manager at the Inspired Villages Group, comments: “It was such a pleasure to have Toby return to Millbrook Village this year to judge our second gardening competition.  Many of the residents work hard to keep their terrace and balcony gardens looking stunning, and we wanted to do something to recognise their creativity, and to create a bit of friendly competition between the residents which is always fun!

“Our residents prove that downsizing doesn’t have to mean giving up gardening; many have downsized from properties with much larger gardens which can become more difficult to maintain in later life.  Millbrook Village offers the opportunity to continue the well-loved hobby in retirement but on a more manageable scale.”

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