Wollondilly Shire Council has a long and proud history of conducting the Spring Garden Competition. Established in 1990, Wollondilly Shire Council is one of the few local Councils still organising and providing a garden competition for its local residents and community.
This is an inclusive event and we strongly encourage entries from young aspiring green thumbs (children) to older green thumbs (seniors), individual gardeners, families, community groups, cultural groups, gardeners with different abilities, commercial organisations and school communities.
With fourteen (14) categories, there is certainly something for everyone.
Great prizes to be won!
Congratulations to the Spring Garden Competition 2022 Award Recipients:
GRAND CHAMPION - Sponsored by CPE Tree Services
WINNER: Martin & Colleen Scott
JUDGES ENCOURAGEMENT AWARD - Sponsored by Welby Garden Centre
WINNER: Lisa Trauntner
BEST EDIBLE GARDEN - Sponsored by Tahmoor Garden Centre
Runner Up: Nicole Barraclough
WINNER: Christian Hampson
BEST NATIVE GARDEN - Sponsored by Mark’s Landscape Supplies
Runner Up: Tim & Christina Richards
WINNER: Andrew Alexander
BEST COURTYARD GARDEN - Sponsored by Wollondilly Shire Council
Runner Up: Tayler Nash
WINNER: Dianne Faber
BEST SMALL RESIDENTIAL GARDEN - Sponsored by Thirlmere Wholesale Nursery
Runner Up: Gavin Axiak
WINNER: Michelle & James Jackson
BEST FLOWER GARDEN – Sponsored by Exclusive Estate Agents
Runner Up: Susan Chalker
WINNER: Pat Bennett
BEST COMMUNITY GARDEN - Sponsored by Thirlmere Wholesale Nursery
Runner Up: Waratah Highlands Retirement Village
WINNER: Tahmoor Uniting Community Garden
BEST SENIORS GARDEN - Sponsored by Wollondilly Garden Club
Runner Up: Maria & Michael Maher
WINNER: Judith McLachlan
BEST ENVIRONMENTALLY SUSTAINABLE GARDEN - Sponsored by Wollondilly Shire Council
Runner Up: Treska James
WINNER: Lisa Ten Hoopen
Grand Champion Award
This will be awarded to the garden which achieves the highest overall points as allocated by the judging panel.
Judges Encouragement Award(s)
This will be awarded to a garden/s where there is obvious enthusiasm, eagerness to learn new techniques and gardening strategies and clear improvements to the previous landscape.
Best Environmentally Sustainable Garden
This award will be presented to the garden judged as being most sustainable, incorporating the following: maintenance with a minimal environmental footprint, use of locally-sourced or recycled materials, demonstrated low-level water requirements through plant choice, mulching and collection of rainwater, growing and/or propagating own plants and produce, composting and exhibiting overall good environmental practices.
Best Senior’s Garden
This category is open to residents aged over 65 years where the entrant has personally established and maintained their own garden. This can include private homes, retirement villages and nursing homes; pot gardens will be considered.
Best Small Residential Garden
Gardens entered into this category are considered to cover an area less than 1000 square metres.
Best New Garden
This category is open to residents whose garden is less than 3 years old.
Best Large Residential Garden Gardens entered into this category are considered to cover an area between (1000² - 4000² metres).
Best Rural Garden
Gardens entered into this category are considered to cover an area greater than 4000² metres. This can include the whole garden or a part of it.
Best Community Garden
Entries for this category must have a high level of contribution and collaboration from community volunteers working together to plan and manage the garden. Practices of community engagement and participation are highly valued in this category. Entries where maintenance of the garden/park is assisted by the Wollondilly Shire Council are still eligible for consideration but will be weighed against other entries.
Best Flower Garden
Entries in this category are focused on providing an abundance of eye catching colour and fragrance stemming from vibrant displays of spring annuals and / or seasonal flowering shrubs.
Best Courtyard Garden
This category can include, but is not limited to, courtyards, pot gardens, balconies, and terraces.
Best Native Garden
Entries in this category must consist of a significant proportion of Australian Native plants, and should provide habitats and food sources to encourage native fauna.
Best Edible Garden
Entries in this category can be: Vegetable gardens, fruit gardens, culinary herb gardens, bush tucker gardens or gardens that are a combination of all of these. Gardens entered must contain consumable produce.
Best School Garden
For this category, ‘school’ is defined as any educational institution including preschools, childcare, primary schools, high schools, special schools. Entries in this category must demonstrate that the garden has predominantly resulted from the work of the students, with a connection between the garden and knowledge gained in the classroom an advantage. The garden can be of any variety.
Best Business / Commercial Garden
(Includes gardens professionally maintained)
Gardens in this category can be of any size, and include places of worship, hospitals, industrial properties, businesses, nursing homes, schools, community areas, retail premises and hotels. The gardens can be of any variety.
Best Staff Garden
This category is open to Council employees and their immediate families who would like to enter the competition. There is no prize associated with this category
Judging of Entries and Judging Criteria
All entries in the Spring Garden Competition will be personally judged by a panel of appointed garden judges and horticulture professional. Wollondilly Shire Council will contact entrants to confirm their allocated judging time slot for the judging panel to view each Spring Garden Competition entry. Judging will take place from the end of September to early / mid October.
It is preferable that Spring Garden Competition entrants are present at their allocated judging timeslot and during the judging of their entry. Judging generally takes between 10 – 30 minutes depending on the size and nature of the entry. Entrants are encouraged to show the judges around their garden. The judges may ask the entrant some basic questions about their garden and gardening practices.
Judging will be based on the following key factors:
- Maintenance - the lack of elements such as dead and diseased plants, well presented lawns and clipped shrubs, considered water usage and overall attention to detail.
- Design - aspects such as layout, colour, use of line, form and texture, plant use and once again attention to detail within this context.
- Intent - the active participation of the entrant, level of knowledge and enthusiasm and extent of third party assistance.
- Environmental consideration - reduced water use, moisture retention strategies, recycling and reuse. Minimal pesticide and chemical use and plant selection.
- Natural environment - encouraging wildlife (provide a habitat or food source for local native fauna), use of native and local plant species and free of declared or environmental weeds.
- Creativity, innovation and passion – is the garden creative and innovative, does the garden reflect the Wollondilly region’s unique environment?
The Judging panel will consist of:
- A Horticulturalist
- Two members of the Community (e.g. local garden club or previous winner
We would like to thank the following sponsors, without their support, this event would not be possible:
- CPE Tree Services (Major Sponsor)
- Picton Bowling Club
- Thornton Brothers
- Wollondilly Garden Club
- The Macarthur Credit Union
- Mark's Landscape Supplies
- Picton Sand & Soil
- Thirlmere Wholesale Nursery
- Exclusive Estate Agents
- Tahmoor Garden Centre
- Welby Garden Centre
Spring Garden Competition Terms and Conditions
- Entry to the Wollondilly Spring Garden Competition is free
- All entries must be based in the Wollondilly Local Government Area
- Gardens belonging to Judging Panel members, Sponsors, Elected Members, Council Staff or their immediate families are only eligible to enter the Best Staff Garden category.
- All prizes are awarded at the discretion of the Judging Panel, whose decision will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.
- At the Judging Panel’s discretion entries may be judged in categories other than the one entered.
- The winners of the awards for each category cannot win the same category prize for three consecutive years.
- Local businesses will be approached to sponsor the prizes for the Spring Garden Competition.
- First Prize and Highly Commended will be awarded for each category with exception of the Grand Champion and Mayors Encouragement Awards which will be individual Winner Awards only.
- Garden owners agree to allow their gardens to be photographed by a nominated person from the Wollondilly Shire Council. Photographs may be reproduced in Wollondilly Shire Council promotional material to be used by Council at its discretion.
- If requested, a successful applicant will also be available or willing to make a representative available for publicity purposes either in the local media or in a Council publication or other promotional material.
- By entering the competition applicants agree to allow the Judging Panel access to view their garden during business hours, upon appointment.
- Applicants will be required to submit a completed Spring Garden Competition Application Form by the due date. Application forms will be made available from Council’s website.
- Multiple category entries are not permitted.
- Wollondilly Shire Council, nor the parties involved, will accept any responsibility or will be liable for any injury, loss or damage to an entrant’s property as a result of participation in the Spring Garden Competition.