Gardening champions have been recognised for their horticultural excellence in this year’s Friends of Norwich in Bloom summer competition.

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The winners today received a special visit from the Friends team and the Lord Mayor and Sheriff of Norwich to congratulate them on their achievements, which ranged from best allotment to best all round garden to best floral public house.

Lord Mayor Ralph Gayton said he was very impressed with the winners’ achievements.

He said: “I was absolutely amazed with what we saw, the enthusiasm of the people we met, and the skill which they showed in the way they have prepared their gardens.”

He also said the Friends of Norwich in Bloom was a “credit to the city” for its work in encouraging horticultural excellence, and he hoped to see even more people get involved in gardening.

Bill Webster, from the Friends of Norwich in Bloom, described today’s presentation day as “fantastic” and he said the standard of entries in the competition was excellent.

Among the 2012 summer competition winners was 66-year-old Brian Smith, of Watling Road, Heartsease, who won a hat trick of awards this year for his allotments on the Cottage Farm Allotments, in Plumstead Road East, Norwich.

The 2011 winner of the best allotment category, this year he scooped the overall winner accolade as well as the top prize for best organic allotment category and the Super Award category.

Mr Smith, who is married to Linda and has two children and two grandchildren, said: “I am just ecstatic. You could have pushed me over with a feather when I found out.

“I have never been a competition person. I just grow fruit and vegetables because I like doing it and I like to see a good end product.”

Mr Smith grows a vast range of fruit and vegetables from cauliflowers to spring onions to peas to strawberries. He said he was proud of his awards and hoped his allotments would inspire other people.

The Friends of Norwich in Bloom’s 2012 Summer Competition winners:

Diamond Jubilee Celebration Garden - Gillian Martins, of Romany Road

Olympic Celebration Garden - Gillian Martins, of Romany Road

Floral Commercial Premises and Containers - Annesley Hotel, in Newmarket Road

Floral Public House - The Plough, in St Benedicts Street

Sheltered Housing Scheme (Residents) - Silver Haven, in Silver Road

Floral Displays in Containers - Kerry Annison, of Devonshire Street

Floral Gardens of Any Size - Yvonne Baldwin, of St James Close

Floral Street - The Elms, off Unthank Road

Cottage Garden - Mind, in Sale Road

Exotic Mediterranean Garden - Janette Macmillan and Oliver Chastney, of Lowes Yard

Best Allotment Newcomer - Mark Broughton, of Mousehold South Allotments

Best Allotment - Ian and Linda Dabson, of Bluebell Allotments

Best Organic Allotment - Brian Smith, of Cottage Farm Allotments, Plumstead Road East

Best Kept Churchyard - Silver Road Baptist Church

Best All Year Round Garden - Mr and Mrs Sewell, of Unthank Road

Best Waterwise - Caroline House, in Unthank Road

Super Award - Brian Smith, of Cottage Farm Allotments, Plumstead Road East

Do you know somebody celebrating a great achievement? Call reporter Emma Knights on 01603 772428 or email emma.knights@archant.co.uk

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