THERE was a blooming great crop of entries to impress the judges in this year’s Magna Housing Association gardening competition.

Organisers raised the standard of competition as the best in years as the winners were announced.

Lyn Hatch, who has judged the contest for the last three years, was joined by former winners Doug and Jacky Johnson to take on the tricky task of assessing the various garden displays entered.

Mr Johnson said: “We were privileged to view some outstanding displays.

“Three in particular were outstanding and all winners on merit.”

The judges were taken round the various Magna gardens by the competition’s organiser Jane Fisher, administrator to the head of housing services, and Magna’s community development manager Ken Bodycombe.

Jane said: “The gardens were the best we’ve seen in years. The standard seems to get better every year.

“The gardens are all different and showcase our residents’ different personalities.

“It is a pleasure to visit the gardens in the competition and chat with people.”

A special presentation ceremony was held at Bayeux Court in Dorchester , one of Magna’s sheltered housing complexes, to award the competition winners with their prizes.

After all the entrants enjoyed a cream tea, Julie Turner from Melplash was presented with the John Foot Cup for the best garden, having also won first prize in the large garden category.

First-prize winners in each category were awarded with £65-worth of gardening vouchers, with those in second place receiving a subscription to Gardeners’ World Magazine and third prize was an annual pass to Abbotsbury Sub-tropical Gardens.

All those who entered the competition also received a goody bag from SCATS Countrystore in Dorchester, who sponsored the Magna Gardener of the Year category which was won by Bridget and Derek Baker from Wool .

The results

Small garden: 1 Mr and Mrs D Baker, Wool; 2 Ms J Pearson, Meadow View, Charminster; 3 Ms A Carroll, Littlemead, Broadmayne ; 3 Mrs J Mundy, Granary Orchard, Trent.

Large garden: 1 Ms J Turner, Twinways, Melplash; 2 Mrs M Hewlett, Vernalls Road, Sherborne; 3 G Mills, Higher Newland, Sherborne.

Pots and patio: 1 R Cox, Queens Road, Bradford Abbas; 2 A and S Horwood and P Gould, Crossways Court, Crossways.

Communal: Miss C Barrell, P Clinch, K Robinson, S Stacey, Symonds Court, Charminster; 2 R Smalldon, Glyde Court, Dorchester.