Despite the pandemic and lockdown at the end of March 2020, the annual gardening competition still took place this year. Changes had to be made, and with a few tweaks, the Progress in Bloom gardening and sunflower growing competition was made COVID-compliant and was a welcome distraction for many during the lockdown.

This year we saw keen gardeners tend to their gardens, pots, balconies, and green spaces, submit their entry, and take their own photographs; you were not deterred and set to work designing, planting, and growing.

As a nod to Chelsea, the world’s greatest flower show, we decided to have a panel of judges to rank the gardens in categories, Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Highly Commended, with every entry gaining an accolade.

The Progress in Bloom celebration took place over Zoom; all the competition entrants were invited to join us to celebrate the wonderful work carried out by our greenfingered tenants. The awards were hosted and presented by Jacqui De-Rose, Progress Housing Group’s Chief Executive. The attendees were also treated to a session run by guest-speaker Debbie Noblett, Leyland in Bloom member and grower and retailer of plants and ornamentals.

Debbie said, “It was a pleasure to be a part of Progress in Bloom 2020 and to see all the hard work people have put into making their gardens and outdoor areas look wonderful; gardening is not only good for the gardener but for all who get pleasure from seeing its beauty.”

Kelly, a tenant, commented, “I really enjoyed entering this competition. I really think it is a brilliant idea for people to enjoy and look after their garden. I definitely made the most of our garden in lockdown. Thanks again.”

It was a tonic to see so many amazing and beautiful gardens in such unsure and trying times, blooming with flowers, shrubs, and wildlife. A lot of time and love had gone into creating outdoor spaces to nurture and enjoy. Thank you to everyone who entered; it was a pleasure to receive the photographs. You can view a compilation of the photos we received by visiting www.youtube.com/channel/UCc8KbMQhZi0Czagqkt9PLGQ. I am sure everyone will agree there are some fantastic gardens out there!