A couple who have spent 20 years creating the perfect cottage garden have scooped the ultimate accolade.
Barbara and Eric Dilley, of Bridge End, Carlton, won the best small garden category and overall Garden of the Year prize in the Times & Citizen sponsored Garden of the Year competition.
The event is organised by Frosts Garden Centre with a presentation evening held at Willington on Thursday.
A delighted Barbara said: “We are both amazed and thrilled to win the Garden of the Year prize, especially as it’s the first time we have entered this competition.
“We didn’t think our garden was big enough or good enough to win, so to win the overall prize is fantastic.
“We have both loved gardening all our lives and enjoy our lovely garden every day of the year.”
Barbara added: “The presentation evening was beautiful, and the hospitality first class. A big thanks to Frosts for hosting such a wonderful event.”
The judges described the garden as being laid with a manicured lawn, with curving borders of shrubs, perennials and fruit trees, climbers and roses.
The garden has views across to Harrold, the church and river meadows, which the judge described as “a scene Constable might have painted”.
The competition attracted 44 entries in eight categories was which was up on previous years. A total of six schools also entered with judge, Maurice Rust, describing the winning entry from The Hills Academy of Bedford as particularly impressive.
Mr Rust, who has been associated with Frosts for 52 years, said the standard of entries overall was high and he was delighted so many people still demonstrated a strong passion and love of gardening.
Thanks go to Mrs Candida Godber who presented the prizes.
Best Front Garden
> Valerie and Malcolm Abrey, The Knolls, Beeston
Jackie Tate, Farm Close, Ampthill
Terry Cox, Laburnum Road, Sandy
Best Large Back Garden
>Mr and Mrs D B Hall, Ireland, Shefford
> Jill Wyer, Ousebank Cottage, River Lane, Milton Ernest
> Valerie and Malcolm Abrey (as above)
Best Small Back Garden
> Barbara Dilley, Bridge End, Carlton
> Christine Kirkham, Nursery Close, Potton
> Margaret Lockward, Street Close, Carlton
Best Hanging Basket/Container
> Sadie Singh, Tyne Crescent, Bedford
Best Community Garden
Brandreth/Woodfield/Ovel View Community Alleyway Garden
> C Mackenzie
Best School/Pre-School Garden
>The Hills Academy of Bedford
Best Allotment/Vegetable Garden
> Anthony K Jones, Sherwood Walk, Bedford
Best Water Conservation Garden
>Malcolm and Valerie Abrey, The Knolls, Beeston.
Mr and Mrs DB Hall of Ireland, also won the prize for best overall garden for the Biggleswade area.
> For more photos, see P25.