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Flower power – neighbours dig for victory in village contest

The blooming marvellous efforts of residents living in neighbouring bungalows in Brewood have been recognised for the second year running in the village Civic Society’s hotly contested Hanging Baskets and Floral Containers contest.

Judges in the competition couldn’t fail to be impressed by the way that the South Staffordshire Housing Association tenants in The Orchard have transformed their outdoor spaces. As well as picking up some individual awards, the friendly rivals have together been highly commended in this year’s competition.

Gardens outside four bungalows in The Orchard have been a riot of colour all summer, with hundreds of blooms tumbling from hanging baskets and brimming out of containers large and small. The enthusiastic gardeners have even created an ambitious new border at the side of a grassed area opposite their homes.

“It’s brought us closer together as neighbours,” says Clive Fieldhouse. “You will usually find at least one of us outdoors, watering and feeding the plants, cutting the grass and dead-heading to extend the flowering season.”

This year there has been even more work than usual, because of the long dry summer. “We have been watering the plants daily and feeding them every week,” explains Bernard Rogers.  “We started planting in early May and from then on there’s been something to do almost every day.”

The neighbours have worked together to get their gardens in top condition for the judges. Clive Fieldhouse and Rob Clayton have been taking it in turns to cut the lawns outside the bungalows, while Bernard Rogers and his wife Sheila have been busy watering and feeding the containers.

“We’re delighted when people tell us that they love walking past our homes,” says Cliff Baker. “We don’t do this to win awards, we do it to create something beautiful that others can enjoy, too. It’s about taking pride in where you live”