Southfields Grid Residents' Association Launches Front Garden Competition

Raising awareness and celebrating the importance of front gardens

Southfields residents are being encouraged to spruce up their front gardens this summer. The Southfields Grid Residents’ Association (SGRA) has launched its “Front Garden Competition”.

The aim is to raise awareness and celebrate the importance of front gardens, not only for their visual appeal but also as a provider of food and shelter for our local wildlife.

The SGRA points out that front gardens help humans and the environment by reducing pollution levels, mitigating against flooding and providing opportunities for neighbours and communities to come together.

The competition is open to all residents in the SGRA area, bounded by Merton, Revelstoke, Elsenham and Pirbright Roads. Homeowners are encouraged to clip, clean, sweep, prune and pamper their front window boxes, baskets, shrubs, hedges and garden areas during the next few weeks.

There will be seven categories of front garden judged, recognizing the differing styles of front areas people have:
1. Contemporary
2. Traditional
3. Window boxes/pots
4. Wildlife friendly
5. “Gardener’s garden”
6. “Guerrilla gardening”

The SGRA’s Facebook page will be running plenty of examples of front gardens posted by local people to look through for inspiration and ideas or simply “like”. There will also be tips for residents on how to make your own front garden the best it can be, and what the judges will be looking for.

Judging will be carried out during June 19-26 by a group drawn from the SGRA’s membership. Judges will identify their top gardens in each street and agree a winner in each category. All category winners will then be judged together to identify an overall Front Garden 2017 winner. Results will be announced on Saturday 8th July during the SGRA’s Coronation Gardens Picnic. One or two nice prizes will be awarded at an SGRA meeting in the autumn too!

Previous overall winners in 2015 were Angie and Rob from Elborough Street, who won with their contemporary gardens entry. Commenting on the competition Rev Ian Tattum, Chair of the SGRA, said: "There are many attractive gardens on the Grid which demonstrate what can be achieved in very small spaces. Unfortunately many gardens are disappearing, probably for good, under non-permeable paving and are a loss to the biological and aesthetic environment. This competition was started by one of my predecessors to celebrate and encourage gardeners who want to preserve both, and I thoroughly support those intentions”.

One local resident has been inspired by the competition. Charles Runcie, who lives in Pirbright Road, has recently laid a hedge at the paved front of his house. Wandsworth Council guidelines say planning permission is needed for laying traditional, impermeable driveways that do not provide for rainwater to run to a permeable area. “Hedges not only look good, I’m sure they’re vital for our local nature eco-scene,” says Runcie, “I think we all like a little bit of greenery in our streets, don’t we?”

For further information on the Front Garden competition visit the SRGA’s Facebook page here, the SGRA website or contact SGRA Chair Rev Ian Tattum on 0208 874 7768.

· You can read more on the importance of front gardens at the Royal Horticulture Society’s website.

May 31, 2017