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.
BBC Radio Devon
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 Good Game, Waterhouse Fayre and Four Elms Fruit Farm…to name just a few!
Throughout June we enjoyed a wonderful flow of entries with the gardening talent of Devon really shining through. The colder weather in the spring seemed to have put back some garden progress and we saw tremendous examples of wisteria which we normally associate with May. Later in June the roses bloomed and we saw an incredible variety along with countless other plants and all sorts of wildlife. It was a pleasure sharing the uplifting images of Devon gardens on Facebook and Instagram and reading the accompanying messages of how important outside space is to everyone.
Hundreds of you entered, helping to raise funds for Living Options Devon, and on Facebook alone we reached tens of thousands of people – hopefully all loving nature’s beauty as much as we have.
Entries closed on 30th June and we selected our favourite to win the Best of Devon Hamper and Golden Spade Award. From a shortlist of 6, the winner was Sharron’s delightful garden in East Devon. We headed off the following week to deliver her prize and have a look around her wonderful garden.
We sat on Sharron’s swing bench and chatted about the plants and animals that inhabit this tranquil corner of Feniton near Honiton. It was easy to see that Sharron not only loves her garden but is passionate about every creature that she shares it with, from bees and caterpillars to hedgehogs, slow worms and goldfinches.
Her work as a carer doesn’t quite leave her enough time to garden as much as she would like but she said that the upside of that is that she has taken her time to plan it as she wants it. And during lockdown her family has really helped out with moving those plans on.
Sharron was already aware of the Countryside Mobility Hire Scheme trampers as she had researched the scheme for her care clients so she was really keen to enter her garden photo and raise £1. But she said she never thought she might be the winner as she thinks her garden is “a bit untidy”. Well, we all think it is absolutely charming!
“I am overwhelmed by the fantastic hamper… Thank you so much to all those involved in organising this competition and for providing the delicious and locally produced goodies. It is also great that Living Options Devon will benefit too, as they provide a brilliant service, enabling everyone to access the countryside. I am thrilled and surprised to have won the competition and am still smiling! I absolutely love my trophy and am going to show it off to everyone I know!!”
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 an entire mixed case of their ales and bitters and Black Tor Rum donated a full 70cl bottle of their golden rum. Frobishers in Exeter provided thirst quenching sparklers and cordials in a selection of flavours. Otter Brewery near Honiton donated a girft box of 2 bottles of their popular Otter Ale together with a logo’d glass. Waterhouse Fayre at Burlescombe delivered a bagful of jam, chutnety and marmalade. Our neighbours Good Game in Topsham donated their charcuterie platter and a jar of their tasty Bacon Jam. 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.
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. Now that it’s September the refurbishment is complete of their Glen Lyn Gorge tramper at Lynmouth, North Devon giving it a second life after 10 years of service enabling people better access up some steep slopes to the beautiful vistas of the gorge.
We went to visit Glen Lyn Gorge to try out the tramper fresh from its refit and received such a warm welcome from Matthew who explained the unusual landscape there and his part in the creation of the paths up the gorge since starting in 1952. It really is worth a trip to this spectacular location perched right on the coastline.
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 hope you will all return next year to share even more beautiful images with 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, raising money to help disabled people in Devon enjoy the great outdoors, is now open for 2022. Want to find out more? Follow the link below:
The Old Stable