Heanor man lays down gardening challenge

Futures Homescape gardening competition winners
Futures Homescape gardening competition winners

The three-time winner of a housing association’s gardening competition is inviting others to have a go at stealing his crown.

Colin Hicklin, 76, of Holbrook Street, in Heanor, won the ‘Best edible garden’ category of Futures Homescape’s gardening competition in 2012, 2011 and 2009.

He’s gearing up to enter this year’s challenge, the eighth annual Futures Homescape Gardening Competition, which is open to all tenants of the social landlord.

Colin, who has been a keen gardener for 50 years, says: “I hope there’s a good turnout for this year’s competition and people get involved. If I can do it anyone can.

“The weather has made it a tough year for growing but I’m hopeful it can still turnaround.”

This year’s competition will have four categories: Best garden; Best communal garden; Best edible garden and; Best single pot or single basket.

Each category’s winner will need to demonstrate not only an attractive garden, pot or basket but also that their gardening skills benefit their community.

Sarah Whattam, community development manager at Futures Homescape, said: “We know that the time people spend looking after their outdoor space can benefit everyone.

“If there’s a garden that brightens your day, whether that’s a neighbour’s or someone’s home you walk past, why not tell them to enter?

“We want to reward people who help make their community a little bit greener, encourage wildlife and grow their own produce.”

Previous winners, including Colin, have shared the fruits of their labour with neighbours, friends and family living nearby.

Colin, added: “I get a lot of help from my neighbours so by sharing what I grow I can say thank you.

“This year I’ll have everything from beetroot to kidney beans, tomatoes and onions. People always ask how I manage to get the onions so big and the secret is to plant them early, I usually start on Christmas Day.”

The closing date for the competition is Friday May 31 and judging will take place from Monday July 15. All entries which have been selected as finalists will be contacted to arrange a visit from the judging team. Prizes for the winners are £30 gardening vouchers and a certificate.

For more information contact the Community Development team on 01773 573100.