AFTER months of hard work and a nervous wait, the winners of the Oxford in Bloom competition have been announced.

Gardeners across the city picked up their awards, in categories including small garden, balcony and junior garden of the year, at a ceremony hosted by TV presenter Wesley Smith, below, on Thursday night.

Wheelchair user Gerry Webb, 67, won the gold award in the disabled entrant category, for his garden in Greater Leys.

He said: “I was over the moon. I have worked hard at it for years and this shows it was worth the effort.

“This year everyone had to be more creative because the weather was absolutely atrocious.”

He added: “When I first got in the wheelchair I really just lost everything, all confidence and ability to try and think what to do.

“I went into therapeutic gardening to keep me going and it just built up from there. Most of the time it is really quite relaxing. I don’t look at it like work, it’s a labour of love.”

Stanley James Garrod, 87, won the gold award in the best kept large garden category for his Iffley garden.

He said: “I feel a great sense of achievement.

“I have got a fairly large garden, I am getting on a bit and I care for my wife, who has Alzheimer’s, so I have quite a job on my hands to find the time. I must admit, in the summer I was working sometimes up until 10 o’clock at night. My wife thinks I’m mad.”

Mr Garrod, who first started gardening aged 10, planted more than 600 flowers this year and has previously won bronze, silver and gold awards.

He added: “I have a great love for getting my hands dirty and seeing things grow and bloom.”

Josh Josephs, 13, who won the junior category, for his garden in Cowley, said: “I’m really pleased that I won. I didn’t expect it at all.

“I watched my nan in the garden when I was younger and that made me want to do it. Once you’ve done it, looking at it is really nice.”

Rose Hill Primary School won the gold award in the junior Oxford in Bloom, school or community group category.

Steph Randall, the school’s learning outdoors coordinator, said: “It was our first year of entering and the children are ecstatic that they have won.

“Just being outside and being active assists their well being and it is important that the children learn and respect their environment.”

The Lord Mayor of Oxford, Alan Armitage presented the certificates, trophies and shopping vouchers.

Oxford in Bloom, now in its 26th year, is run by Oxford City Council and supported by the Oxford Mail, Templars Square Shopping Centre, Isis Creative Framing and a committee of volunteers. There were about 60 entries, all judged in July.

Best Kept Small Garden:

  1. Gold: Chris Perks, of Wood Farm
  2. Silver: Roy Cox, of Osney
  3. Bronze: Michelle Robbins, of Cowley

Best Kept Large Garden:

  1. Gold: Stanley James Garrod, of Iffley
  2. Silver: Richard & Sue Milner, of Marston
  3. Bronze: Gerry Webb, of Greater Leys

Most Beautiful Container:

  1. Gold: Chris Perks, of Wood Farm
  2. Silver: Gerry Webb, of Greater Leys
  3. Bronze: Michelle Robbins, of Cowley

Most Beautiful Balcony:

  1. Gold: Carmel Whelan, of Littlemore
  2. Silver: Betty Fletcher, of Northway
  3. Bronze: Mr & Mrs King, of Old Headington

Junior Oxford in Bloom:
Joshua Josephs, of Cowley
Junior Oxford in Bloom School or Community Group:

  1. Gold: Rose Hill Primary School, Rose Hill
  2. Silver: East Oxford Primary School, Cowley
  3. Bronze: Windale Community Primary School, Greater Leys

Display by University or College:

  1. Gold: The Rhodes Trust, Oxford
  2. Silver: Merton College, Oxford
  3. Bronze: University College, Oxford

Community Garden Therapy Award:

  1. Gold: St Francis Court, Cowley
  2. Silver: Beehive Restore, Cowley
  3. Bronze: Jackson Cole House, Oxford

Best Small Commercial Display:

  1. Gold: Milka’s Guest House, Oxford
  2. Silver: Business Headington & Partners, Headington
  3. Bronze: Green Gables Guest House, Oxford

Best Large Commercial Display:

  1. Gold: Templars Square Shopping Centre, Cowley
  2. Silver: Jam Factory Restaurant, Oxford
  3. Bronze: The Old Black Horse, Oxford

Disabled Entrant:

  1. Gold: Gerry Webb, of Greater Leys
  2. Silver: Betty Fletcher, of Northway
  3. Bronze: Winifred Hawkins, of Marston

City Cup for long standing entrant – Graham Perks, of North Oxford
Jack Hodges Memorial Cup outstanding effort – Sheila & Erroll Smith, of Blackbird Leys
Sid Cunning Cup for outstanding contribution – Trish Stevens, of Cowley