Creating homes and places where people want to live

Green fingered Nottingham residents helping to tackle climate change

12 November 2021


Residents across Nottingham’s council estates have been helping to transform their gardens to create green spaces for bees to thrive and doing their bit for the natural environment.

These residents have now been honored for their hard work and transformations as part of the city’s Best Garden Competition, which is run by Nottingham City Homes and has been going for almost 100 years after it first began in the 1930’s.  

This year there has been a real focus on creating gardens that encourage biodiversity and help the bugs and the bees to thrive. Bees are pollinators and the work they do is vital for plants to produce seed and to reproduce. Honeybees, for example, smell plants to find flowers but these smells are hidden by vehicle exhaust fumes. This makes it hard for them to find flowers and pollinate, which is economically is very important as it helps in the production the fruits and vegetables we eat.

Bee numbers are declining globally due to disease, agricultural changes and habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation. Climate change is also having an impact on bees and this is why it is important that people create bee friendly gardens. And this is exactly what this year’s winners of the Best Garden Competition have done. They have created some thriving, unique and beautiful gardens – that are helping to encourage and increase the bee pollution and in turn combatting the effects of climate change.

NCH tenants Marcia and Robbie Sutton from St Ann's, won gold in this year’s award for creating the Best Bee Friendly Garden and Lees Hill Park, run by Kathryn Cooper in Sneinton also won the top award for Best Edible Garden for offsetting carbon emissions by growing their own food
Speaking about their Best Bee Friendly Garden, Rob and Marcia Sutton, said: “When we moved into our home 4 years ago there was no garden. Since then we’ve transformed the garden planting fruit trees and bushes for wildlife and birds, vegetables, herbs and fruit bushes for us and plenty of bee friendly flowers that the bees just love!”
 
Kathryn Cooper, Best Edible Garden winner, said: “Earlier this year Lee Hills Park was a very sad unloved and underused park – which had a lot of anti-social behaviour, litter and drug use. Now, with the help of lots of local volunteers, local kids, Nottingham City Homes, Nottingham City Council and the councillors we have transformed it. We now have a lovely community garden with apple trees, tomatoes, rainbow chard, rhubarb, yellow courgettes and lots more, as well as a weekly gardening group”
 
Winners of this year’s awards are:

  • Best Use of Outdoor Space - Michael Kearney, Lenton
  • Best Garden Transformation (sponsored by Make Consulting Ltd) - Graham Clifford, Aspley
  • Best Communal Green Space (sponsored by Thomas Bow City Asphalt) - Snape Nook Court, Bulwell
  • Best Community Garden (sponsored by Thomas Bow City Asphalt) - Roots Out, Bulwell
  • NCH Young Gardener of the Year (sponsored by Make Consulting Ltd) - Amelia Parker, Lenton Abbey
  • Best Small Garden - Will and Janet Chaplin, Radford
  • Most Colourful Garden - Stephen Jennings, Clifton
  • Best Floral Display - Bruce Rayner, Bilborough
  • Champion of Champions Winner - Graham Clifford, the winner of the Garden Transformation award

Cllr Linda Woodings, Portfolio Holder for Planning, Housing and Heritage at Nottingham City Council, said: “These awards encourage the city’s council tenants to grow their own food, enhance their neighbourhood, and build a real sense of community spirit with their gardens and greens spaces.

“This year’s winning residents and groups have now been announced and with COP26 well underway, we are celebrating people who have created gardens that encourage growing your own food and biodiversity. They should be proud of all the work they have done to create some amazing gardens, gardens that help towards tackling climate change.”

Nick Murphy, Chief Executive of Nottingham City Homes, said: “Creating gardens where biodiversity can thrive is incredibly important and it is great to see some many people investing in their gardens to help with the bee and general insect population.

“The Best Garden Competition has historically inspired residents of the city to improve their homes and neighbourhoods and this year there has been a real focus on creating gardens and green spaces that help to offset the effects of climate change.  

“It’s fantastic to see the huge effort that goes into each of these gardens, and to see the wide range of people taking part, from the very young to the young at heart. Congratulations to all this year’s winners.”

This year’s categories were judged by John Stirland who was the gardening expert for BBC Radio Nottingham for a number of decades and has supported the competition for many years.  

Read more about the competition and see the photographs here.