Darras Hall in Bloom Garden Competition Winners

19 September 201714:34

THIS year’s Darras Hall in Bloom competition revealed just how many truly incredible gardens there must be hidden away behind the hedges of the estate. Garden competition judge, Paul Travis-Anderson, who is manager of Dobbies Ponteland Garden Centre, described the standard of entries as "genuinely mind-blowing" and said they are an indication of just how many amazing gardens there undoubtedly are in Darras Hall. 

Announcing the three winners of this year’s competition, Mr Travis-Anderson said: "I have a garden of my own, which is a work in progress, and I am green with envy having had the privilege of being invited to see these gardens.”  Declaring the winning garden to be that of Joan Hillman of Greenacres, Mr Travis-Anderson, added: "In all my years of judging gardens this is the first time that I have ever awarded a score of 100 per cent. This garden is faultless and truly inspiring. It is testament to the hard work that must go in to it and it was an absolute privilege to be invited to look around it. To be honest, I came away feeling green with envy that a garden could be so impressive on so many levels."

As sponsors of this year’s event, Dobbies provided voucher prizes of £300, £200 and £100 for the three winners to be spent at the garden centre on the outskirts of Ponteland. Mr Travis-Anderson, who has many years of judging experience, said that each of the three winning gardens is hugely impressive in different ways, with the garden of runner-up Marion Prince of Meadowvale being declared "a real plants person’s garden."   He said: "I have never seen so many different plants in a single garden. This garden contains plants that are so unusual and so rare that we do not even have some of them in the garden centre."  Marion was unable to attend the awards ceremony at the garden centre, but third-placed Ann Winter and her sister Mary, also of Meadowvale, were praised for cleverly adapting their garden to the boggy conditions of the earth that is typical of many parts of the estate’s gardens. Featuring a bog garden and impressive dragonfly-attracting pond, Mr Travis-Anderson described the garden as being delightfully varied and interesting. 

Declaring the competition a great success that had attracted entries of such a remarkable standard, Darras Hall Estate Committee chair Andrew Mate said he hoped it would be the start of a long relationship with Dobbies, which is the estate’s "local" garden centre. Mr Travis-Anderson added that the competition serves to give an insight into just how many wonderful gardens there must be on the estate and urged as many residents as possible to take part next year.


Pictured Above Committee chairman Andrew Mate (standing left) with Dobbies Garden Centre manager Paul Travis-Anderson and (seated centre) winner Joan Hillman flanked by Ann and Mary Winter.