The Gardening Against the Odds awards have seen the gardeners from the Butterfly Garden in Cheltenham presented with a the overall award at a celebration in the Great Conservatory of Syon House, London.
The Conservation Foundation run scheme turns the spotlight on ordinary gardeners who triumph in the face of challenges to create gardens that brighten the lives of others.
The Butterfly Garden sees up to 30 students a day of various ages and with varying disabilities benefit from gardening therapy and other activities. Chris Evans runs the project as well as Dundry Nurseries garden centre.
Joint runners-up are HMP Parc in Bridgend, Wales which has a wildflower meadow and fruit and vegetable beds within its walls and Tottenham’s Broadwater Farm Estate garden, set up by Martin Burrows and Robbie Samuda of the Back2Earth Harmony Gardens project.
A new award honouring young gardeners is shared between Ricky Downey and Dost. Downey is an apprentice gardener in West Ham Park whose life turned around through gardening. The young people who belong to Dost arrived in Britain either as refugees or migrants and have created a garden in a neglected site in Newham.
Five other individuals and groups will receive highly commended awards including The Horticultural Therapy Trust, Erica Quinn’s garden, the charity Gardening Leave, the Forget-Me-Not-Young-Gardeners and Living Medicine in the London Borough of Newham.
Judges were Life editor of co organiser, The Sunday Telegraph, Anne Cuthbertson and writer Francine Raymond and from The Conservation Foundation, co-founders David Shreeve and David Bellamy.
They were joined by The Duchess of Northumberland, creator of The Alnwick Garden, actress and gardener Susan Hampshire, Guerrilla Gardening’s Richard Reynolds, Christopher Woodward, director of the Garden Museum, previous award winners Annie Maw and Niki Preston, Tim Richardson, writer and director of the Chelsea Fringe, Craig Sams, founder of Green & Black’s and Carbon Gold, horticulturist Richard Vine, creator of the Coutts Skyline Garden and Frank Wilson, husband of Elspeth Thompson, to whose memory the awards are dedicated.