I could start with some polite chit chat about the weather… but seriously it has been really crazy here, we’ve had so much rain, lots of wind, and don’t get me started on the humidity! The temperatures are all over the place – the other day I was back in my warm jumper, but today is so hot. It has more bounce in the temperatures than a yo-yo!
The garden is doing well, I’ve netted my tomatoes to keep them safe from the Tomato Potato Psyllid and we’re eating zucchini every day, although the teen lad isn’t best pleased because he doesn’t like them. I may need to put them in a cake…
But I’m waffling… what you really want to know is who are our winners. And I am really excited to announce that we managed to find a few extra prizes this year from the encouragement awards set aside for during the challenge so this year there are a whopping 9 winners! Which was just as well, as it was really hard to narrow things down. Everyone was an integral part of making the community the incredibly wonderful group with the nicest bunch of gardeners.
So, without further ado… please put your hands together to congratulate the following gardeners:
The three Main Prizes go to:
· Somerset Sue
· The Flower Lady
· Old Mangakino Orchard (McCallum's Garden)
Sue has been such an amazing inspiration in this challenge with her regular posts and supportive comments, not to mention her stunning garden (and SH’s incredible lawn should get a mention). The passion Sue has for her garden shows in every post.
Helen has also been amazing to watch this season, as she doggedly faced all of her challenges with positivity and enthusiasm. She has a huge garden, but is doing some fabulous things with it, and I think we all maybe just a little bit envious of her cool new power tools!
James makes the challenge fun! His sense of humour and poetry adds a joy to even the most challenging situations in the garden. With his delightful sidekick helping him in the garden, Haven will have plenty of wonderful memories of growing up with her dad. His supportive conversations under every blog post is genuinely friendly and we feel grateful he chose to become a part of this community.
And for the runner up prizes:
· Best Starting Out Gardener: Jungle Jane
Who is actually Nicky, and not a complete novice, but as the description for this category includes someone with more passion than experience, and we feel this sums up Nicky’s journey in this challenge. She started out really quite unsure of herself in the garden, but with the encouragement and support of the community she has flourished and so has her garden. And her creativity is amazing which blends so nicely with her garden.
· Best Supporter, in honour of Carol Oates: Northland Backyard Gardener
In Rachael’s last blog post she mentioned Carol: "And while I will admit, not having Carol Jayne on here this time round did seem strange, I will say that having a few familiar faces on here was a blessing. " Even after these years, Carol’s presence is still missed, and she would have loved to have seen how the boys are doing in the garden. She was a great supporter of the kids in the challenge. Carol set a lovely tone in the challenge and Rachael embraced the encouragement and supportiveness that helped fill the gap, contributing to a warm and wonderful community.
· Yates Wild Card Winner Ev in the South
This award is a fun one, because it could have gone to anyone. This time we wanted to acknowledge a dedicated gardener who posted consistently, and her personality shined through. While many gardeners were posting daily, Ev posted just once or twice a week and was a regular contributor to the comments section, we wanted to thank her for her constant efforts – we saw her slow and steady approach, which was just as valuable in the community as the daily posters.
The last Encouragement awards go to:
Neil was late to the challenge and was quickly welcomed in by everyone and soon became our resident pepper expert. We enjoyed watching your garden flourish and wanted to encourage you to stay with the community and sharing your updates as they are much appreciated.
Stacey, as a long-term friend of the community, we sense that this season was a little bit more of an effort than in previous years, and we thought an encouragement award would let her know we appreciate what she brings to the community and look forward to seeing more of her garden in the future. It wouldn’t be the same without her.
Tracey has also been with the community for a while, and we wanted to let her know that this year we have really enjoyed getting to know you better in your posts and in the comments section. It has been lovely to see more of your garden and hope to see even more of it in the future.
This was such a difficult task, to pick the winners but I hope you will all agree, every single one of you is a worthwhile winner. We hope to get your prizes out to you before Christmas, but with the craziness at this time of year, they may arrive in the new year.
I look forward to seeing more of your gardens in the future, especially for the rest of the season. I will whip up one more blog post before Christmas explaining how the page will transition from this year to next year, so you know what to expect to carry one sharing your garden updates seamlessly – so keep an eye out for that post – early next week.
But for now, I am so proud of you all and it has been a privilege to garden alongside you all this year. I’m sending each and everyone of you a virtual hug! Congratulations.
Happy gardening and as always – if you want to get in touch leave a comment below.
Sarah the Gardener : o)