Wight In Bloom centre Frances Brett, daughter Julie on left, Alan Titchmarsh right

A 90-year-old Islander, Robin Hill and a Lake primary school were among the winners of this year’s Wight In Bloom – the Island’s very own gardening competition.

More than 100 people and organisations entered, culminating in an awards ceremony at the Liz Earle head office in Ryde.

Alan Titchmarsh, TV presenter and patron of Wight In Bloom handed out the prizes at the ceremony on Tuesday (23 July).

He said:

“It becomes more and more obvious as the years go by, the value of greenery, in any environment.

“Whether it’s domestic, outside your back door or even if it’s in a window box or a pot or on a larger scale and the Island is blessed with some tremendous gardens, at Osborne and Mottistone, lots of larger places to visit.

“Places like Robin Hill where you can go and get out, in to the countryside and people not on the Island forget the size of the Island.”

Overall winner of Wight In Bloom and recipient of the Peggy Jarman Trophy was 90-year-old Frances Brett of Binstead, who explained why gardening was important to him:

“I wanted to come in to this [competition] and I wanted to win it because it might the last year I put all the effort in. But I think without it, without the garden, I’d be so bored and go downhill.”

Other winners included Robin Hill as Best Large Tourist Attraction Garden and a 1st, 2nd and 3rd for Shanklin in the Best Small Commercial Garden category as The Clifton took the top place ahead of The Carlton and Havelock Hotels, while Haven Hall in Shanklin and The Royal in Ventnor tied first place for the Large Commercial Garden award.

Wight In Bloom winners group shot

Ian Boyd from ARC Consulting spoke about this year’s Biosphere Reserve recognition from UNESCO, stressing the importance of man’s relationship with his environment – a sentiment that headline sponsor Southern Vectis’ general manager echoed.

Richard Tyldsley, General Manager at Southern Vectis said:

“We’re really proud to be sponsoring Wight in Bloom in 2019. We really welcome community projects at Southern Vectis and anything to help the Island be more bright and attractive, whether you’re on top of an open top bus or you’re just going for a walk , anything that makes it greener, brighter and adds some colour is really fantastic for the Island.”

Will Myles, MD at Visit Isle of Wight said:

“Recent research that Visit Britain put out that showed that gardens and garden tourism is on the huge increase, and obviously, being on the Island, people refer to us as the Garden Isle, we are that green space, we are that place where people can come and recharge their batteries, and we’re the place where people can come and see all the great work that people are doing on the Island.”

Wight In Bloom also celebrated the winners of ‘Line In Bloom’, organiser Bobby Locke from the Community Rail Partnership announced Broadlea Primary School as the winners, with their display at Lake train station.

All the finalists received Liz Earle product bags and were given 14 day free travelcards from Southern Vectis.

In addition to the prizes, St George’s School in Newport (winner of Best Young People Initiative) and Abbeyfield Clifton House in Cowes (Best Care-Giving Complex Garden) were each given a Southern Vectis bus for the day to take students and residents out on a trip of their choice.