IT is the last chance for gardeners to have a chance of getting their pride and joy counted in this year’s Oxford in Bloom.

The deadline for entries is Monday and organisers are appealing for anyone considering entering to get their forms back ready for the judges’ rounds next week.

The city is also entering Britain in Bloom for the first time in several years, with judges from the national contest due to take a tour of Oxford on Tuesday.

Among those who have already entered is Templars Square shopping centre in Cowley, which has been involved in the contest since its early years.

Centre manager Aaron Bayliss, who is also deputy chairman of the bloom organising committee, said: “It’s about civic pride.

“It certainly makes the centre look more attractive in the summer, but also, we are part of the local community and we hope to encourage other local people to do the same.”

There have been nearly 60 entries so far, including several newcomers to the Oxford in Bloom contest.

Janet Lever, however, has been taking part for more than ten years, and will again enter her hanging basket and back garden.

Mrs Lever, 77, from Risinghurst, said: “I enter because I think it’s fun.

“I just enjoy doing gardening alongside the pleasure it gives to me and the pleasure it gives to people seeing the displays.”

She urged more people to put their gardens forward, despite a difficult gardening season.

Mrs Lever said: “There are some beautiful gardens, people should definitely go for it.

“I did go to one lady the other day and asked her to enter and she said she would think about it.

“It should be kept going for those who are prepared to work on their gardens.”

Oxford City Council parks development officer Michelle Legg called on people to take the plunge and take part.

She said: “With a great year of celebrations this years Oxford in Bloom competition wants to celebrate the colourful and glorious gardens and containers that brightened up our lives in and around the city.

“It’s not too late to enter this year’s competition.”

Apply online or download an application form by visiting inbloom.