ROTHERHAM Council is throwing open the gates of its gardening competition to everyone.
Previously reserved for council tenants only, the contest is also being revamped to take account of the current climate, with entries to be submitted online.
There are several categories to enter, including best garden, best young gardener under 25, best pots, planters and hanging baskets, best vegetable patch, best children’s container garden and best wildlife garden.
Cllr Dominic Beck, cabinet member for housing, said: “In these times of uncertainty and change, people are valuing their gardens more than ever, and for some once-neglected borders are now flourishing and vegetable patches are sprouting new leaves.
“Prioritising physical and mental wellbeing has helped many people to adapt to new routines.
“Taking time out to do the things that help us rest and unwind, such as gardening, has been a great help and brought a lot of people a lot of joy.
“This is why this year we have opened up this ever-popular competition to the whole of the borough. We have also introduced new categories for tenants to enter such as the best wildlife garden for those who provide sanctuaries for birds, bees and insects and, for our younger residents, best children’s container garden.
“With children being at home more than ever over the past few months many have been out in their gardens getting creative using everyday household items to make mini gardens.
“I’ve seen flowerbeds and herbs planted in everything from old sweet tins to wellington boots — a lovely way to get the next generation of green fingered gardeners started. This category, which will be chosen by the Mayor of Rotherham, is to recognise and reward them for all their hard work.”
Gardens will be judged on photographs sent to the council along with the answer to the question: “What does your garden mean to you?”
The council’s assistant director for housing, Tom Bell, said: “We welcome all residents who love nurturing their garden to enter the competition.
“Whether you have been a lifelong gardener or you’re a novice, we’d love to hear what your garden means to you.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to recognise our residents for all their hard work which they have put into making Rotherham a strong community in a clean and safe environment which is more welcoming and a place to be proud of.”
Each category will have two winners, with one council and one non-council tenant each winning £100, with two runners-up in each category to receive £50.
To enter visit www.rotherham.gov.uk/tenantinvolvement and upload three photos of your garden, along with a few words about what your garden means to you.
The closing date for entries is August 31, with the winners to be announced in September.