We’ve travelled the country to bring you fantastic real gardens created and cared for by our readers. We whittled down 1,003 entrants to find 8 finalists who were judged by our expert panel: Alan Titchmarsh, Diarmuid Gavin and Kate Gould. Their votes revealed one winning and one highly commended garden. We then opened it up to you, to vote for your favourite in the People’s Choice award. Discover the results of our Gardens of the Year 2020 competition, sponsored by Inspired Villages, with prizes supplied by Long Travel, below.
We had our highest-ever number of entries to the competition, this year. We’ve loved seeing your gardens, and couldn’t keep them all to ourselves, so you’ll see a small selection of the entrants, below. Plus you’ll see more of the gardens of all of our finalists, in the magazine, in 2021. Subscribe to BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine to get it delivered to your door.
Judges’ Choice and People’s Choice: Elizabeth and Malcolm Schofield, Moray, Scotland
In a first for the competition, the same garden wowed the judges and topped the People’s Choice vote. This colourful garden, created on a wild, overgrown hillside, in a Scottish seaside town, is a worthy double winner. Elizabeth and Malcolm have created a plant-filled haven for all to admire. Starting with almost no gardening knowledge and with little cash to spare, they decided to create something special for their family and for the local community to admire.
Elizabeth and Malcolm won First Prize, a holiday to Italy, worth £4,000, courtesy of Long Travel.
Highly Commended: Michael and Margaret McNaught, Derby
This small garden has gone from a bare patch of ground to this classically inspired jewel in just one year. Michael and Margaret McNaught had been planning this garden for many years, and when finally able to start work they did all the work themselves and incorporated elements from grand gardens they’d visited.
Michael and Margaret have won Second Prize, a holiday to Italy, worth £2,000, courtesy of Long Travel.
A selection of your gardens
Lisa Graham, Cheshire
I have three children, so the garden needed to be family friendly. The raised beds help protect the plants from footballs and the dog!
I also wanted it to be wildlife friendly, so added a small pond, a hedgehog house, bug hotel and bird feeders. My sons have loved watching all the wildlife that visits our garden and that has been especially important to them during lockdown. A few years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and my garden was my escape and my therapy. Whenever I feel stressed, or am struggling, my garden is my refuge and my medicine. It brings me so much pleasure.
Chris Rea, Birmingham
We were due to create this at Gardeners World Live 2020. When the event was sadly cancelled, we thought we would use lockdown to create the garden at home! Commercial chemical dyes are damaging to the environment and so this garden was intended to showcase the possibilities of natural dyes. We made dyes using onion skins, turmeric and mint. Patterned fabrics have been created by overprinting with petals and leaves from mint, calendulas and coreopsis.
Peter Joubert, London
This is a small trapezoid-shaped garden measuring approximately 5.5m wide by 7m at its deepest point. When I moved in, the garden was paved over with an oppressive high fence. I wanted to create a lush oasis as an escape from city life. I think I’d be very depressed without this garden – especially in lockdown! It’s my creative outlet, a social space for friends and family and a calming escape from work and the city.
Sandra Wilkins, Bristol
I am an eccentric, constant gardener. Over the years I’ve accumulated 35 watering cans, 3 mangles and created many garden
artefacts. I can only just about sit still in the garden to drink a ‘cuppu’ before a plant or idea inspires me. I love my garden and like to share it, so I open it with nearby gardens to raise money for local charities. Prior to lockdown, I was given a toilet and wash basin identical to the suite Elvis died on. I have placed it in the corner of the garden and planted it up, hoping it will become a visitor attraction in the future!
Karen Roberts, Cambridgeshire
I spend a huge amount of time researching and then trying to find exact plant species and varieties that should work in the Cambridgeshire climate and on very alkaline soil, and I am a bit of a plant collector. I have well over 1,000 different species and
varieties of herbaceous perennials, shrubs and bulbs, some which are quite rare and unusual. I get a huge amount of satisfaction from being able to grow so many different types of plant, and love seeing how the views develop and change throughout the year.
Diane Ablewhite, Nottinghamshire
The garden is one of the best features of our home. Being waterside, we see a lot of wildlife and so we have created areas to sit and relax to watch it. I’m never happier than in my garden and especially during this lockdown have been incredibly grateful to have an outdoor area to keep me busy! The summerhouse at the side of the river can be used all year round, as I have a little electric fire in there and it’s perfect to watch the waterfowl come and go!
Genevieve Harris, East Sussex
I wanted to make the garden blend into the landscape, rather than stick out. Many parts are very informal and providing a habitat for wildlife is very important to me. I have never used pesticides or chemicals, we find the ducks are very efficient at keeping slugs and snails at bay! The vegetable garden and raised beds are particularly important to us, as we try and grow as many fruits and vegetables as we can, to feed our family.
Jill Nicholas, Dorset
The sloping bank at the top of the garden was totally overgrown with ivy and brambles. Clearing it was a massive job. We then left it for a year to allow dormant seeds to germinate, weeded countless times over the summer, then sowed large quantities of wild flower seed and waited eagerly to see what would happen. The result was promising, so we repeated the process the next year and were rewarded last summer with a magnificent display of poppies, interspersed with cottage style and wild plants.