Spring Garden Competition

The Spring Garden Competition is a celebration of gardens within the Shire. The competition is available to all residents and local businesses. 

2020 Key Dates:

Entries Open: Monday 17 August 2020

Entries Close: Friday 18 September 2020

Judging: Monday 28 September - Friday 2 October 2020

Application: Enter via our Online Form or Downloadable Form


Wollondilly Shire Council has a long and proud history of conducting the Spring Garden Competition. Established in 1997 this community event has been held annually for more than twenty years. Wollondilly Shire Council is one of the few local Councils still organising and providing a garden competition for its local residents and community.

The Spring Garden Competition is a popular community event with entries from a wide variety of landscapes including traditional back gardens, large and small gardens, rural acreage, native gardens, business and commercial spaces, community gardens and school communities.

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 twelve (12) categories of entry, there is certainly something for everyone.


Rural GC Trish and Steve 2


Sponsored by CPE Tree Services

Michele and James Jackson – Buxton


Best School Garden 

Sponsored by Wollondilly Garden Club

Highly Commended -  Cawdor Public School

Winner- St Anthony’s Primary School   


Best Edible Garden 

Sponsored by Welby Garden Centre

Highly Commended   - Nicole Barraclough

Winner - Willie Vanderzyden    


Best Native Garden

Sponsored by Thirlmere Nursery

Highly Commended  - Pat and Richard Hanman

Winner - Mike Arnold      


Best Courtyard Garden 

Sponsored by Marks Landscape Supplies

Highly Commended  - Judy Honeybun

Winner - Julie Eckler        


Best Small Garden 

Sponsored by The Mac Credit Union

Highly Commended  - Greg and Cheryl Serone

Winner - Michele and James Jackson  


Best Flower Garden

Sponsored by Narellan Sand and Soil & Garden

Highly Commended  - Susan Chalker

Winner - Mary Kolacki     


Best Community Garden 

Sponsored by Narellan Sand and Soil & Garden

Highly Commended  - Waratah Highlands Retirement Village

Winner - Tahmoor Uniting Community Garden  


Best Seniors Garden 

Sponsored by Narellan Sand and Soil & Garden

Highly Commended  - Judith McLachlan

Winner - Judy Davis           


Best Environmentally Sustainable 

Sponsored by Narellan Sand and Soil & Garden

Highly Commended  - Kathy and Peter Robins

Winner - Brenda Cunningham  


Best Business / Commercial Garden 

Sponsored by Thirlmere Nursery

Highly Commended  - NSW Rail Museum

Winner - Kalinya Estate


Best Large / Rural Acreage Garden 

Sponsored by Picton Sand and Soil

Highly Commended  - Ross and Julie Mallam

Winner  - Angelo and Rosemary Grima   


Judges Awards 

Sponsored by Tahmoor Garden Centre

Anna Antonio  - Kilometres Travelled Dragging Hoses       

Samantha Smith – Encouraging Children to Garden          

Alexsandra Sykes – New Garden

Joy and John Dries – Encouraging Others      

George Edwin Bailey – Perseverance and Enthusiasm       

The Oaks Public School - Aboriginal Cultural Inclusion

Grand Champion Award

This will be awarded to the garden which achieves the highest overall points as allocated by the judging panel.

Mayor’s 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 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. Entrants should demonstrate knowledge of the area with plans to improve and enhance the space for the public. 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 Small Garden

Gardens entered into this category are considered to cover an area less than 1000 square metres. This can include, but is not limited to, courtyards, pot gardens, balconies, and terraces.

Best Courtyard Garden

This category can include, but is not limited to, courtyards, pot gardens, balconies and terraces.

Best Large or Rural Acreage Garden

Gardens entered into this category are considered to cover an area greater than 1000 square metres. This can include the whole garden or a part of it.

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, secondary colleges, special schools, TAFE's and higher education sites. 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

Gardens in this category can be of any size, and include places of worship, hospitals, industrial properties, businesses, nursing homes, retail premises and hotels. The gardens can be of any variety.

All entries in the Spring Garden Competition will be personally judged by a panel of appointed garden judges and horticulture professionals. 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 time slot 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
  • A member of the Community (e.g. local garden club or previous winner)
  • A Council Staff member

Sponsorship will be sought for the competition prizes, with benefits including:

  • Prominent publicity in all promotional material such as brochures, advertising, banners and posters
  • Sponsors name and logo on one or more of the nominated categories
  • Acknowledgement of sponsors and participation at the awards event

If you're interested in sponsoring the Garden Competition please fill in our Sponsor an Event Expression of Interest form.

  1. Entry to the Wollondilly Spring Garden Competition is free
  2. All entries must be based in the Wollondilly Local Government Area
  3. Gardens belonging to Judging Panel members, Sponsors, Elected Members, Council Staff or their immediate families are ineligible to enter.
  4. All prizes are awarded at the discretion of the Judging Panel, whose decision will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  5. At the Judging Panel’s discretion entries may be judged in categories other than the one entered.
  6. The winners of the awards for each category cannot win the same category prize for two consecutive years.
  7. Local businesses will be approached to sponsor the prizes for the Spring Garden Competition.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. By entering the competition applicants agree to allow the Judging Panel access to view their garden during business hours, upon appointment.
  12. 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.
  13. Multiple category entries are not permitted.
  14. 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.

Personal information collected is held and used by Council under the provisions of the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act, 1998.