The Golden Spade Award 2020
The 2020 Golden Spade Award has been quite different from what we had planned – but nevertheless a worthwhile and enjoyable campaign. Here’s a summary.
After a smaller scale campaign in 2019 we started planning for the 2020 Golden Spade Award in the winter months. We visited Stallcombe House in Woodbury and met staff and residents who have an amazing community which is a life line to adults with a learning disability and autism, and their families. This cemented our resolve to support them with a donation and publicity. We pledged £1 from us at HCT Turf to Stallcombe House for each garden photo sent to us from Devon residents.
A resident of Stallcombe House with produce grown in their garden
With this fantastic local cause to support we planned to reach out to our customers and all types of gardening groups and businesses to get involved in June.
And then Coronavirus happened. Like everyone, this rather stopped us in our tracks.
But after some thought we realised that this campaign would actually be a great thing for people at this difficult time. With many people at home more, clearly gardening was an important activity, physically and mentally, and sharing the results of all this work would be a great pleasure.
So after Lockdown was announced in March and then the beautiful weather looked set to stay we made the last minute decision to open up entries for the Golden Spade Award 2020 earlier than planned in the last week of April, running until the end of May.
Throughout the campaign we had a steady stream of entries and shared the uplifting images of Devon gardens on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. In total around 50 photos were submitted, but through our online community many more people were reached and hopefully took as much pleasure from the glorious views as we did.
Once entries closed on 31st May we had the challenge of selecting our favourite for the Best of Devon Hamper and trophy. From a shortlist of 6 beauties we whittled it down to Lee and Kathy’s tranquil looking garden in East Devon to win the 2020 Golden Spade Award. Now that outdoor visits are permitted it was an absolute delight to be able see their garden at first hand with the excuse of delivering their prize.
“Our garden can be extremely hard work at times, but it’s times like these that we appreciate our garden all the more. When the work is done, we are rewarded with lovely colours especially in the autumn when our winning photo was taken. We are still buzzing after winning the Golden Spade Award for 2020 and would like to thank HCT Turf for their kindness and generosity.”
Best of Devon Hamper Prize
We were thrilled with the response from Devon based producers of fine foods and drinks to support us with a range of donations for a winner’s hamper.
Dartmoor Distillery at Newton Abbot provided a 70cl bottle of their Black Dog Gin. Otter Brewery near Honiton donated a bottle of their popular Otter Ale. Utopian Brewing at Bow contributed four cans of their local lagers and a branded glass to really enjoy it in the proper style! Waterhouse Fayre at Burlescombe delivered a bagful of goodies: pickled onions, 2 jars of jam and 2 jars of fruit preserve. Our neighbours Good Game in Topsham donated their chorizo and charcuterie platter. And Four Elms Fruit Farm at Newton Poppleford gave bottles of their Devonshire apple juice and Devon Roots cider.
Donation to Stallcombe House
It’s also time for us to send our donation to Stallcombe House. Originally, we set this at £1 per entry but for this year have decided to increase it to £5 per entry, a total of £255 to Stallcombe House.
Amanda Greenaway, Head of Charity at Stallcombe House, filled us in on how they have been affected by Covid-19:
“Thank you so much for your donation, we really do appreciate it. We plan to spend the money on a cuddle curtain for our residents. We went into lockdown even before it officially began on 23 March because our residents are so vulnerable. So they have not been off site in all this time and haven’t seen their families. We hope that next month visits may be possible with the aid of a cuddle curtain so that residents can experience the loving cuddles they yearn for without risk of infection. Seeing their families through a screen just wouldn’t work because they don’t fully understand the situation and why they must avoid contact.
“Activities here have been massively affected; for months now none of our normal pastimes like swimming and visits to coffee shops have been possible. We have had to be creative with new ideas on site to try and keep interest and spirits up.
“Normally our permanent staff are regularly joined here by agency workers. But measures taken in light of Covid-19 mean that is not possible at the moment and together with some self isolation this has meant our team have been working tremendously hard.
“Of course we do have the benefit of a large and beautiful site here where it is a pleasure to live and work. But it is hard to understate how much we long for a return to normality.”
We have thoroughly enjoyed seeing the incredible hard work and talent of Devon’s gardeners that we wouldn’t ordinarily. It’s definitely something that we would like to continue in future years. Hopefully all of this year’s participants plus many more will submit a photo when we come back for the 2021 Golden Spade Award.
Although the unique conditions this year have highlighted the benefits of gardening, of course we desperately hope that 2021 brings a return to normality and we can celebrate that when we reach out to our gardening friends next time.
In the meantime our sincere thanks to everyone involved, all the gardeners who took the trouble to contact us and especially the companies who have donated to the Best of Devon Hamper.