For each entry we had pledged to donate £1 to fantastic charity Living Options Devon, based near us in Exeter. The aim was to raise the £1000 needed to refurbish one of the off-road mobility scooters or “trampers” which they offer through their Countryside Mobility scheme. These trampers are located at locations thoughout Devon and the South-West enabling people to access our beautiful countryside and coastal areas with friends and family.
Anyone that got involved and shared a photo of their garden, was entered into the competition to win the coveted Golden Spade Trophy. The winner would also receive a Devon Hamper, made up of delicious goodies donated by the likes of Black Tor Distillery, Waterhouse Fayre and Four Elms Fruit Farm…to name just a few!
Throughout June your garden photos flowed through to us, a fantastic range of beautiful gardens and plants, and also fun images reflecting our campaign mascot “George” and the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. In addition to the entries some of our business contacts joined in, mowing “George” into gardens and verges around Devon, and we even saw Exeter Chiefs create his cheeky smiling face at Sandy Park.
All those of you who entered helping to raise funds for Living Options Devon, and on Facebook alone we reached thousands of people – hopefully all loving nature’s beauty as much as we have.
Entries closed on 30th June. After that we handed over to our judging panel to select the 2022 winner. From a shortlist of 7, they chose Nigel’s tranquil Cullompton garden which he and his wife Diana have been working on over the last 25 years. We headed off the following week to meet Nigel and Diana and present them with the Best of Devon Hamper and Golden Spade Award.
Making arrangements to present this year’s winner Nigel Ecclesfield with his Devon hamper and Golden Spade Award was not as simple as we expected. In the end we tracked him down via a family member who was actually half way around the world at the time but was able to call him, at a time when he was using a tramper at a National Trust site in Suffolk!
We spent a very pleasant morning drinking coffee in Nigel’s beautifully kept garden in Cullompton. The couple moved into the house 25 years ago with just 2 apple trees and a bit of lawn. Ever since then they have been adding a colourful array of bee and butterfly-friendly flowers and shrubs which make for a gorgeous, sheltered haven.
As well as the picture-perfect corner featured in the winning photograph, there are a couple of other corners of flower beds and also a fruit and vegetable patch as the garden wraps enticingly around 3 sides of the house. This keeps them in runner beans, gooseberries, black currants and we also tried some deliciously sweet alpine strawberries which seemed almost too pretty to eat.
The level aspect of the garden lends itself very nicely to Nigel and Diana’s young grandchildren visiting, having picnics in the garden and moving round to catch the areas of shade. And they must love the frogs who reside in the pond and reliably produce frog spawn every spring.
“I entered the competition because I have been a member of the Countryside Mobility Hire Scheme for the last four years, entered the Living Options Devon Competition in the last two years and I think we have a wonderful garden, looked after by Diana, my wife and I love photographing its wonderful plants and flowers. I am disabled as a result of a stroke in 2017 and use a phone camera for most of my work.”
Best of Devon Hamper
Once again we’ve been thrilled with the positive response from producers of fine food and drinks in Devon. The prize for the winning photo is a wonderful selection of goodies.
Black Tor Brewery generously donated a mixed case of their ales and bitters and Black Tor Rum donated a full 70cl bottle of their golden rum. Otter Brewery near Honiton donated a gift box of 2 bottles of their popular Otter Ale together with a logo’d glass. Waterhouse Fayre at Burlescombe delivered marmalade and their charming Jubilee Jam which contains edible silver stars. Four Elms Fruit Farm at Newton Poppleford gave bottles of their Devonshire apple juice and Devon Roots cider. Highfield Preserves at Willand contributed jam, marmalade and chutney. And the delightful (goat) ladies and Tracey of The Dirty Old Goat Soap Co in Uffculme provided a range of handmade soaps
Donation to Living Options Devon
After the competition finished we were thrilled to make a donation of £1000 to Living Options Devon’s Countryside Mobility Hire Scheme. In the next couple of months this money will go towards refurbishing one of the original trampers in need of refresh. Come back to this page soon to see which tramper.
As for last year’s campaign, we have once again been absolutely delighted to see the gardens that our fellow Devonians create and nurture. Amongst all the difficulties of recent months it seems that gardening has been a vital positive to so many. We’re always pleased to see your garden photos so do send them to us.
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.
Our FREE TO ENTER photo campaign #ILoveMyDevonGarden 2022, raising money to help disabled people in Devon enjoy the great outdoors, has just finished. Want to find out more? Follow the link below:
The Old Stable