GARDENS in Apollo Bay and Birregurra were among those that bloomed in this year’s Colac Otway Shire Garden Awards.
Best sustainable garden went to Birregurra’s Brian and Vicki Jeffrey, best coastal garden to Donna O’Meara and Ken Bromfield from Apollo Bay, and best native garden to Elliminyt’s Brendan Stahl.
The shire offered broader categories for the 34th annual awards with the intention of making the program more accessible to green thumbs across the shire, regardless of their location or landscape.
The awards were co-judged against set criteria by the shire’s parks and gardens team leader Mark Robinson (also a horticulturalist and arborist), and Anne Mercer from the Friends of the Colac Botanic Gardens.
The Jeffrey’s garden had an attractive design, constantly revisited and augmented by the skill and imagination of the owners, with a great mix of natives, exotic, fruit trees and artwork.
“The Jeffreys are so good at recycling water that they actually have excess that they have been able to give to a neighbour,” Mr Robinson said.
“There is a vast variety of plants that are all very well cared for, they have made excellent use of all the space they have available.”
Well set out with good use of a small site, Donna O’Meara and Ken Bromfield’s Apollo Bay garden features drought tolerant plants, with some species used to provide variety and colour in a coastal area, as well as to look good at different times of the year.
“The O’Meara/Bromfield garden is small but there’s been a huge amount of thought and planning involved.
“They have some interesting fruit trees that they’re able to use in a variety of ways. They’ve created a private sanctuary that’s hidden from other houses in the area.”
Mr Robinson said there was a great diversity of gardens across the Colac Otway Shire, and it was a privilege to be invited into the worlds of some of the municipality’s most passionate gardeners.
“What stood out from every applicant was the pride they have in their gardens and they love they have for the activity.
“I congratulate this year’s winners and all the gardeners who work hard to beautify their yards and the local environment more generally.”