Lockdown Growing: The Results!

Earlier in the year, prompted by Pauline & Paul McBride at Sussex Prairies who donated packets of heritage seeds to local residents via BN5 Magazine, we decided to run a lockdown growing competition and asked SH2030 to help us organise, run and judge it. 

We asked you to submit photos of your lockdown growing projects to demonstrate your horticultural skills … and WOW, have we been impressed! From colourful sunflowers reaching dizzying heights to whole vegetable garden projects, the green-fingered folk of Henfield really embraced lockdown gardening as the following photos and comments show!

Tony Baker from SH2030 said: “I have enjoyed looking at the photos which show the diversity of plants that are being grown in Henfield gardens large and small. This competition has celebrated the joy people get from gardening and it does not surprise me that results from the County Council’s recent Coronavirus survey showed that gardening was the most popular lockdown activity.” 

He went on:  “Sustainable Henfield 2030 is a group which recognises that the biggest crisis facing the human race is climate change and we believe that everyone should make an effort to do what they can to protect our fellow citizens from the famines and floods that will come if the world continues to do next to nothing to stop it. Growing plants and trees locks in carbon and in itself is a good thing. Making a home for insects and wildlife is even better. And when Covid-19 social distancing is over we will again arrange for more local tree planting,  bee corridors, recycling and other green projects to protect this and future generations.”

Choosing the three winning entries was difficult as the judges, Liz Hodgson of the Haven Ground Force Team, Liz Taylor and Tony Baker of SH2030, Pauline McBride of Sussex Prairies and Emma Osman, editor of BN5, loved all of them for different reasons. However, it was finally decided to award the three family passes to the wonderful Sussex Prairie Gardens to Sharon Ridgley, Phyl Stroud and Toby and Albert Bray.

Sarah Butler

Phyl Stroud: “… I’ve never had time to grow plants from seed but because of lockdown I took my opportunity. I used my conservatory to germinate / propagate seedlings. I’ve grown flowers; cosmos, nasturtiums, asters, larkspur, sweet William, delphiniums and vegetables; courgettes, leeks, runner beans, garlic, kalettes, broccoli, peas, dill, basil, tarragon and beetroot. My father died in January from dementia so I put some of my plants out for people to take, the lovely people of Henfield donated £42 to Dementia UK – so generous just for my little plants… Incidentally, I am very thankful to Sussex Prairies for the lovely seeds.”

Sharon Ridgley: “I already have a good size veggie plot but in March turned my entire lawn over to veggies too, adopting the ‘no dig’ method. It was hard work but we are reaping tasty rewards, having planted carrots, beetroot, beans and brassicas. I’ve tried my hand at chickpeas, edamame, watercress, artichoke, honeydew melon, loofah gourds and asparagus. I’ve also replanted some of the flower borders, incorporating wildflowers where I can and leaving veggie plants to bolt, encouraging bees and using seeds for next year. My love for gardening and photography has increased 10-fold which has been a saving grace during lockdown.”

Lucy Bray: “Here’s a photo of Toby & Albert’s lockdown sunflowers currently standing at 10ft tall alongside runner beans, beetroot & tomatoes all grown during the Lockdown.”

Sooky Choi: “Where there’s a will there’s a way to grow things in a patio garden – in lots of containers.”

Suzanne Harrison: “Here are some pictures of my grandchildren on a socially distanced visit using the many of the different shapes and colours from my garden to create pieces of art.”

Alison & Paul Crowe: “… We grow chilli’s every year but tomatoes are new to us… we were donated 8 plants and are growing them in an old tin bath… they seem quite happy and are groaning with fruits! While we were (and to a certain extent still are) ‘locked down’ seeing things growing like this is a real boost!”

Sam Bloxome: “I thought I would enter my son Stanley age four with his sunflower which he planted with his dad just as lockdown started. It’s just started to flower and we think it’s nearly 9 ft tall.”

Hannah Farmer

Ally Bull: “… our (just over) 8ft tall sunflower that Amelia and Jack planted. We picked up the small seedling on one our walks at the beginning of lockdown and they are very happy with how tall it has grown.”

Esther Sowter: “Two Geranium plants left in the ground over the winter have produced this wonderful wall of colour. ‘Cut and come again’ salad leaves – I have just enjoyed my first tasting for lunch,  never grown them before but found an old packet in the kitchen drawer whilst doing a Lockdown spring clean… Ideal for growing in a small garden!”

Charly Douglass

Tony Baker: “My first ever Cucamelon, grown from Heritage seeds supplied by Sussex Prairies.”

Liz Brindley: “The joy of a garden.”

Susan Westman: “My daughter, Daniella, is very proud of her plant. She grew this from a tiny sapling and she has done all the work. It’s a jalapeño chilli plant. Measures 115cm from soil. Currently 8 chilli’s growing amazingly.”

Max Joyce: “Here are some photos of my tomatoes that I grew over lockdown. I’m not going to eat them because tomatoes are disgusting. Mum likes them.”

Helen Barber: “As our Grandchildren couldn’t come and visit we made use of the climbing frame!!”

For more information about Sustainable Henfield 2030 please go to: http://sustainablehenfield2030.org