The results are in for the Melplash Agricultural Society’s Gardens and Allotment competition 2023.

The contest is thought to be the most prestigious garden competition in the area and is open to all residents within a 12-mile radius of Melplash village church.

It celebrates the hard work, creativity and care that people put into their outdoor spaces.

All types and sizes of gardens and allotments are encouraged to enter and this year there were 17 entries across the four categories: Large, Small, Medium and Allotment.

The overall winner was a garden that particularly wowed the judges - the winning medium garden created and cared for by Alison Waterman and Richard Middleton of Bridport.

The pair have created a colourful cottage-style garden, getting a huge amount of satisfaction from growing a vast variety of different flowers including her favourites geums and salvias. The front of the house is devoted to fruit and vegetables and is known as ‘the allotment’.

Alison works in mental health and finds her garden the place where she can totally switch off and relax.

She said: "We are absolutely thrilled to have won. We just love our garden and for it to be recognised by others is just unbelievable!"

The competition was sponsored by William James & Co, Bridport, which has donated gift vouchers and Chedington Compost, which has given bags of their compost to the prize winners.

The judges were drawn from last year’s winners: Kevin Trott (2022 Allotment winner) and Jason Smith and Nicola Darby (2022 Overall and Large Garden winners).

They were accompanied by the Society President, Michael Fooks and his wife Pam, and the Society Chairman, Philip Hardwill. The stewards for the two days were Peter Yeates and Cliff Pitcher.

Society chairman, Philip Hardwill said: "Having the chance to accompany the judges to such an incredible variety of gardens was a huge privilege.

"The approaches that had been taken to overcome the soil, the varying terrain and difficulties of the individual plots was astounding.

"Every entrant is deserving of huge congratulations as they all produced lots which any professional would be proud to exhibit. My thanks go to all the entrants and to our judges and stewards.” 

The judges gave comments on all the gardens and allotments that they visited.

Below are the winners of each category:

Allotments: 1st place and winner of The Groves Nurseries Trophy – Scott McGregor and Ruth Hennigan, West Allington; 2nd - Ian and Anne Bark, Walditch, 3rd Ronald Gow and Julie Lambden, West Allington Allotments

Small Gardens: 1st place and winner of The Valerie Bishop Memorial Trophy - Andrew and Tracey Violet, Bridport; 2nd Lois Pearson, Beaminster Joint 3rd Val Bartlett, Bridport and Alexander Jones, Bridport.

Medium Gardens: 1st place and winner of The Pitcher Trophy - Alison Waterman and Richard Middleton, Bridport; 2nd Jon and Cathy Harvey, Bridport; 3rd Peter Lacey, Lyme Regis

Large Gardens: 1st place and winner of The Fowler Rose Bowl - Guy and Gillian Livingston, Bridport; 2nd Shirley Samways, Beaminster; 3rd Doug and Amanda Miners, Ryall Special Award for Best Environmental and Wildlife Practice and winner of The George Payne Memorial Trophy - Shirley Samways, Beaminster