I was given the enjoyable task of judging the floral competition, along with Jim Buttress who is a professional flower judge, and fellow director, Julia Prescott.
My other cousin took photographs and Brian, Julia’s husband drove us around the countryside following the route that Bob Sawyer, our transport manager gave us. We visited 9 pubs on the first day and 10 pubs on the second day. 19 pubs had submitted entries by the deadline.
It was good to see flowers blooming and trailing down to cover the baskets, as well as good cultivation. Some gardens were packed full of a variety of plants. Others were very natural, with bushes and lawns neatly cut and attracting widlife.
Jim has passed on the following observations:
“It was encouraging to see many pubs that were combining annual bedding with more permanent planting. This helps to extend the flowering season and encourage wildlife.”
“There were several first time entries who are to be congratulated and pubs which have improved beyond all recognition. In particular the judges would like to commend The Dorset (Lewes), The Plough, The Red Lion and The Grenadier. The re-cycling of sanitary ware as planters at The Royal Oak at Barcombe were also appreciated by the judges!”
“The overall standard was high which provided an additional challenge for the judges. The amount of gardening related questions when we visited only re-iterated the enthusiasm of the publicans and more importantly the enjoyment it provides for their customers.”
It is a fun exercise to visit the public houses and revisit or meet the people who are running them, and to see the amount of effort that goes into the whole operation. We had a great lunch at 2 of the houses. Well done to everyone involved in making this years competition a success and lets double the entries for 2015!
We presented the prizes to the winners and runners up in August, please see the photos by Dany Nicholas below.
Supreme Champion – The Blackboys Inn
Best Hanging Baskets – The Wheatsheaf. These were the most fantastic baskets with a multitude of planting variety, well maintained and cultivated
Best Surprise – The Plough Inn. For the regeneration of the outside space since our last visit – which has transformed the garden
Best Community Activity – The Fountain at Cowden. For their ‘Muckspreader’ potato growing competition
Best Newcomer – The Kings Head. For their displays at front of house to attract customers, colourful baskets and troughs clearly visible from the road, well maintained, cultivated, and achieved in a short space of time.