Garden Awards Sponsor Honoured With New Flower Bed in Memory of Founder

Southern Plant & Tool Hire who have been a sponsor for the Henley in Bloom Garden awards for over 10 years have been invited by the committee to have a special new flower bed created in memory of their founder, Simon Gale who passed away earlier this year.

Councillor Kellie Hinton made the announcement at the awards ceremony last week which was attended by Simon’s wife Sue, Vince Rose (Commercial Director), and Simon’s son Murray (General Manager).  Kellie said, “Simon was a real champion of the town.  Which ever sports club you go to, you will see Southern Plant boards.  Without the funding from Southern Plant these awards wouldn’t take place.  We would like to honour Simon’s support in this special way and work together on the design.”

Awards were presented for private gardens, communal areas, groups of houses, allotments, pubs, our own On The Spot Award and new for this year, a Conservation and Wildlife Habitat award.  Singer, Vince Hill was delighted to attend again this year to help present the awards.

The overall Best Garden of the Year was won again by Keith Thatcher for his garden in Market Place behind the large door leading to the Barn.   The judges said the garden has a “real wow factor hiding behind a wattle fence with a huge variety of unusual plants and evergreens.  Keith is very knowledgeable about his beloved plants and not only cares for this own garden but he also waters and cares for the entire area beside the Barn.”  Keith said, “I was amazed to win it again.  I’ve spent about the same amount of time this year (a couple of hours day) but it is getting harder as I’ve got problems with my knees.”

Our Editor, Michaela Clarke presented the Herald’s On The Spot Award to Susan Goodall whose colourful front garden in Harpsden Road she thought was worthy of this year’s award.  She hopes the winners of each year’s award then go on to enter the competition formally the following year.  Susan said afterwards, “I grow all my own flowers and I think we thought about entering one year but we missed the closing date.”

The Pub award was won by The Saracen’s Head Pub on Greys Road. Landlady, Mel Roberson said, “We’ve won a few times over the years.   The last time was two years ago. It’s so nice to win because all the pubs look so good. It’s very rewarding and makes all the hard work worth while.”

The Close off Greys Road was the winner of the Communal areas award.  This was largely due to one man’s care and enthusiasm, Pat Main.  He has created a neat and peaceful mini-park for the pleasure of all the residents, with paths and handrails for good accessibility.

Jill Abbink won the Gardening Buddy of the Year.  Jan Sutton said, “Jill has only been a gardening buddy for 2 years and she has no garden herself.  She’s always up for any job including this year we weeded the pavements on Kings Road.  She also keeps us in supply of chocolate!”

Catherine Notaras presented the new Conservation and Wildlife Habitat Award to Helen Midford from St Mary’s Close.  Catherine said, “I think we are all aware that Britain is rapidly losing its wildlife mainly through the loss of habitat caused by urbanisation, modern farming techniques and global warming.  It’s a great pleasure to thank and present this award to Helen who has created an environment within her garden which enables nature to thrive.  Helen has a beautiful evergreen hedge which in Spring is full of nesting sparrows and her garden is packed with fruit bearing shrubs and trees that provides food for a plethora of adult birds and their chicks.”  Helen was presented with a garden book and voucher from Bell Book Shop.

Mick Blackhall was presented with a joint Henley in Bloom & Allotments Association Community Award in recognition of the all the work they have done for the Waterman’s restoration project.  Tony Robinson was also awarded this award but was unable to attend.

Chair of Henley in Bloom, Councillor David Eggleton said, “Thank you to everyone.  All of you here this evening helped us to win Gold.  Every little bit you do in your gardens helps.”

Herald On The Spot Award Garden

The full list of awards presented are listed below:


Front Garden
Winner – The Saracen’s Head
Runner-Up – The Three Horseshoes

Back Garden
Winner – The Argyll
Runner-Up – The Row Barge

The Saracen’s Head

Patios With Flowers
Jill Richardson – Highly Commended
John & Marilyn Mahoney – Bronze
Eva Rickett – Bronze
Steve Huyton – Silver
Caroline Chisholm – Silver Gilt
Keith Thatcher – Gold

Lawns with Flowers
Patricia Knights – Highly Commended
Jo Andrews – Highly Commended
Ron & Mary Jacobs – Silver Gilt
Duncan Birrell – Silver Gilt
Christina Mahoney – Silver Gilt
Leah Gomersall – Gold

Communal Areas

Northfield End Patch – Special Mention
Gainsborough Estate Entrance – Silver
The Close – Silver Gilt

1-9 Northfield End – Special Mention
126, 132, 142, 148 Reading Road – Special Mention
12, 16, 24, 26 & 30 – Special Mention
113-116 Mount View – Silver
56-68 Greys Hill – Silver Gilt

Allotment Association Awards

Nigel Roger – Best Newcomer, Greencroft
Heather Dixon – Best Newcomer, Watermans
Andrew Hawkins – Best Plot Greencroft
David Keets – Best Plot Watermans