Gardens in west Dorset are among some of the best after Magna Housing’s annual garden competition went virtual this year.

Magna received the most entries it has ever had as customers want to showcase their hard work in small gardens, large gardens and patios and containers.

Amanda Taylor, personal secretary at Magna, organised the Magna garden competition and was one of the judges. She said: “We launched the competition before the coronavirus outbreak and when lockdown came, it seemed like we would have to cancel. But we know how important gardens are and how much extra time our customers would be spending in them, so we know we needed to continue the competition somehow.”

Entrants were asked to show judges around their gardens using whatever video calling platforms they were comfortable with. With more than 60 entries across six categories, judges were virtually walked around customers’ gardens.

Amanda added: “It was such a pleasure to be shown around so many of our customers’ beautiful gardens. Their passion for gardening really came through as they explained what we were looking at in each one.”

After many video calls and deliberation, judges came to their decisions for the best patios and containers, sustainable category, small and large garden, children’s category and the tallest sunflower.

Patios and containers: 1st Paul Pearson, Minehead, 2nd Fred Dale, Alcombe, Mandy Smith, Kilve.

Sustainable/wildlife: 1st David and Hannah Marsh, Maiden Newton, 2nd Helen Chant, Beaminster, 3rd Richard Middleton, Bradpole.

Small garden: 1st Dutch de Vires, Stogursey, joint 2nd Peter Hayward, Bridport, and Teresa Edwards, Weymouth, joint 3rd Maggie Benford, Bradpole, and Gillian Hurley, Minehead.

Large garden: 1st Sadie Lenton, Chickerell, 2nd Tamara Partridge-Bough, Dherborne, 3rd Amanda Seacombe, Alcombe.

Children’s: 1st Morgan White, Yeovil, joint 2nd Jayden and Louie Ely, Porlock, joint 3rd Lily Rose Brimble, Dorchester, and Emmy-Rae Hopwood, Williton.

Tallest sunflower: Reggie and Bertie Pile, Burton Bradstock.

Special prize, fruit and veg garden: Rosemary Cieciora, Beaminster.

Neil Bliss, resident and community engagement officer, said: “I’m so pleased our customers embraced technology to enable us to continue with this competition.

“Myself and my fellow judges found it a great way of looking around your amazing gardens whilst remaining safe and following government guidelines. This has shown us that there are lots of ways we can improve what we do by making the most of the technology we have available to us.”