A GREEN-fingered Stratford resident is in the running for BBC Gardeners’ World Garden of the Year.
Charity worker and mum of two Dionne Sambrook, who lives at Meon Vale, has been named as one of eight finalists for the prestigious competition.
The finalists with gardens in locations across the UK, had professional photoshoots in the summer, prior to being judged by a panel of gardening experts including Alan Titchmarsh, Arit Anderson and renowned Chelsea garden designer Anne-Marie Powell.
Dionne’s garden is a new-build yet wildlife-friendly garden. It includes insect habitats, a wildlife pond, log piles and lots of native wildflowers.
Dionne said: “Gardens have a huge role in supporting nature and in tackling the current biodiversity crisis. Lots of people have access to a garden and there is a lot you can do to encourage wildlife. It need not cost much, if anything and you don’t need green fingers. You really just need time and lots of patience.
“I have found observing and learning about the wildlife that visits my garden to be fascinating. My garden is buzzing and full of life and every leaf has been nibbled or munched by something. But that doesn’t mean it’s not beautiful and full of flowers. It’s not a wild garden and I have room for roses, tulips and ornamental grasses and the other plants that most people have in their gardens. I also grow vegetables, fruit and herbs, although I have to share what I grow with slugs, snails and blackfly.
“The damage they do can be quite disheartening, but as they feed the birds, frogs and ladybirds, I’d rather have them than not. Watching dragonfly nymphs emerge from the pond and transform into dragonflies and then seeing them hunt around the garden is so much more interesting than having a perfect lawn.”
The winning judges’ choice was recently announced as a small courtyard in the City of Edinburgh, but the people’s choice award is up for grabs and will go to the garden which wins the public vote.