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Wight and Shanklin in Bloom Winner 2019

It has been a Blooming Marvellous few weeks for us here at the Clifton, and we’re really pleased to announce that all of our hard work has paid off, with a first-place win in both “Wight in Bloom” and “Shanklin in Bloom”, yes that’s right we got a clean sweep in two of the Islands most prestigious horticultural competitions.

The first piece of good news reached us in mid-July, that for the second year running we had won First Place for our category (boutique hotels, bed & breakfast or guest houses in Shanklin) in Shanklin in Bloom, which is our local competition sponsored by Carpets Direct and run by the Shanklin in Bloom committee. But before we could even get the champagne on ice, news broke that we had done the double and won Wight in bloom as well.

What’s the big deal? You may ask, why do businesses, clubs, charities & private homes across the Island place so much value on having “A lovely Garden” well the answer is simple. It’s just great for everyone, visitors and locals alike, but don’t forget the humble bee, wild birds and other once-common visitors to our gardens that are now sadly in decline. With toxic pest killers and artificial feeds now just a distant memory, Terri’s organic approach has turned our garden into a paradise for local wildlife, homemade slug repellent that harms nothing, our own composting of waste, water butts to use the rain nature gave us and special areas set aside under bushes for pollinating bees, toads & hedgehogs, We even built several bug hotels, little hotels designed especially for garden-friendly bugs.

So why did the Judges of both competitions love the Clifton’s garden so much? Well, as the Clifton got involved in the “Green Star Scheme” run by Visit Isle of Wight a couple of years ago the owners David and Carys made the bold choice to embrace a greener philosophy, which led to the appointment of a new gardener, after much searching, the best choice was our very own team member Terri. A gardener with a huge amount of knowledge, passion and love of nature. Terri’s environmental planting has also led to some amazing blooms, with plants you may only see flower at the Ventnor Botanical Gardens or even the Mediterranean. This coupled with our amazing location on the cliff with sea views overlooking the most beautiful part of the bay had led to our garden looking the best it has ever been since the Clifton Hotel was first built in 1860!

Although the award ceremony for Shanklin in Bloom has yet to take place, Terri and David had the wonderful opportunity to receive the award for Wight in Bloom from no one less than the renowned gardening expert Alan Titchmarsh, held at the headquarters of Liz Earle, one of the co-sponsors of Wight in Bloom, Alan and Visit Isle of Wight chair, Ian Griffiths gave out awards in 11 categories ranging from best small front garden to best caregiving complex garden.

Clifton Garden with Sea View

As the Isle of Wight celebrates its new biosphere status, sustainability was added to the judging criteria and now makes up 20% of the final score, so what are the judges looking for? Well according to Visit Isle of Wight

The judge’s scores will be divided equally between the following 5 criteria:

  • SUSTAINABILITY (NEW FOR 2019) – composting, wildlife-friendly, recycling and use of natural resources are just some of the elements that our judges will be looking out for.
  • OVERALL IMPRESSION – the initial impact of the garden
  • DESIGN/LAYOUT – use of plants/features/range of plants etc
  • HORTICULTURAL PRACTICE – cultivation & maintenance/quality of plants/layout etc
  • INNOVATION – creative design, use of form and colour, use of features/furniture/infrastructure etc.”

 

Will Myles, MD at Visit Isle of Wight said:

“Recent research that Visit Britain put out that showed that gardens and garden tourism is on the huge increase, and obviously, being on the Island, people refer to us as the Garden Isle, we are that green space, we are that place where people can come and recharge their batteries, and we’re the place where people can come and see all the great work that people are doing on the Island.”

It is no coincident or surprise that sustainability was added to this year’s Wight in Bloom, as the main sponsor is Southern Vectis, the Island’s bus company, who over the past few years have more than proved their commitment to sustainability and green travel.

Richard Tyldsley, General Manager at Southern Vectis said:

“We’re really proud to be sponsoring Wight in Bloom in 2019. We really welcome community projects at Southern Vectis and anything to help the Island be more bright and attractive, whether you’re on top of an open-top bus or you’re just going for a walk, anything that makes it greener, brighter and adds some colour is really fantastic for the Island.”

For Terri, the highlight of the award ceremony was meeting gardening guru Alan Titchmarsh and having an opportunity to chat with him and get his views about what makes a great garden.

Terri with Alan Titchmarsh

Alan had this to say about the Island:

“It becomes more and more obvious as the years go by, the value of greenery, in any environment. Whether it’s domestic, outside your back door or even if it’s in a window box or a pot or on a larger scale and the Island is blessed with some tremendous gardens, at Osborne and Mottistone, lots of larger places to visit.”

We have to say that we truly agree with him, and hope that our garden here at The Clifton will continue to be recognised for its beauty and tranquillity as part of Wight in Bloom every single year.

If you want to come and see our garden this year? We have a few great autumn offers available to stay with us, or alternatively, we invite tourists and locals alike to come to The Clifton and enjoy a bite to eat in our garden before taking a leisurely walk through into Shanklin.