We are delighted to reveal the winner of our 2019 pot plant competition.
When it takes three hours to water the plants, you know you are talking about someone who takes real pride in their garden.
And in Alex Hardy’s case it’s not just his garden, but the gardens of his neighbours that he also takes pride in.
That’s why the 69-year-old was the overwhelming choice of the judges deciding who should win the Durham Aged Mineworkers’ Homes Association (DAMHA) 2019 Pot Plant Competition.
Mr Hardy, who lives at Foxcover Court, Seaham, was chosen for the outstanding display of flowers outside his home and the three other homes next to him which he looks after with the help of his neighbour Bill Wilson
It’s a real labour of love for Mr Hardy, who receives £50 cash for winning the competition.
He said: “I used to be a professional gardener so even though I am now retired, it just comes naturally to me.
“I like my garden to look nice and colourful and alongside Bill, we work hard to ensure the whole row of houses are attractive.”
Mr Hardy grows most of his plants from seed in a greenhouse, which makes it a year-long job and not just something he thinks about in the spring.
He adds: “The biggest job is the watering. That can take three hours to do it properly in the summer when everything is growing so quickly
“Many people think that if it rains then you don’t need to water the plants yourself, but the plants effectively act as an umbrella, with the water running off the leaves. You really need to get a hose or watering can directly into the soil.”
Mr Hardy was delighted to discover he had won this year’s competition.
He said: “It’s taken a few years to get to where we are happy with the gardens, but to know it is appreciated has made my day.”
Judges Gordon Parkin, President of DAMHA, and Steve Fergus, Vice-President, were both very impressed with Mr Hardy’s efforts.
Gordon said: “We visited a number of homes during the course of the judging and the standard, as always, was very high but we felt Mr Hardy was a deserving winner for what he has done not only outside his home, but the homes of his neighbours as well.
“He has a community-minded attitude and we are delighted to have people like him living in our homes.
“We would like to thank everyone who entered; they are also a real credit to DAMHA and the local community.”
Second prize went to John and Lesley Middleton, of Sherburn Village, and third prize went to Elija and Auriol Taylorson, of Horden.