And the UK’s Best Garden belongs to…

Earlier this year we launched the Gardeners’ Garden Competition with Garden Answers magazine, to find the best garden in the country. We were blown away by the quality and sheer number of entries we received, and now we are pleased to announce the winner and runners up for 2018…

The winning garden is located in Knaphill and is lovingly tended by husband and wife team, Barry and Pamela Gray.

The couple were visited by judges in July who were instantly in awe of the garden. The panel included gardening writer and broadcaster, Martin Fish; editor of Garden Answers, Liz Potter; Liz Chaloner from Cobra; and George Plumptre, chief executive of the National Garden Scheme (the NGS).

The judges were taken aback by the dedication and perfection in the garden, and commented there wasn’t a dead head or struggling plant in sight, despite the heat wave! One of the most visually impressive features of the Gray’s garden is in the front of their house where their array of bedding plants and fuchsias are a spectacle for passers-by, which the judges described as “a real piece of theatre.”

The house was previously council owned to provide accommodation for hospital workers, and the Grays have completely transformed it from a square of lawn with two apple trees to an immaculate and well planned garden with lots of different areas and “rooms”.

Discussing the competition, Liz Potter, editor of Garden Answers who ran the competition, commented: “The standard of entries was really high, so getting through to the shortlist for judging was a real achievement. We were looking for a garden that combined exciting planting with good design ideas, a fusion of gardening skill with plant knowledge and a sense of style. Pamela’s garden really caught our eye with its colourful bedding display in the front, and the back garden was immaculate – lots of exciting plant combinations, thematic borders and clever use of a modest space, offering surprise and delight at every turn.”

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Gardeners’ Garden Competition winner Pamela Gray!

In response to the news, Pamela said: “We really love our garden and when others enjoy it too we are chuffed to bits! Winning the competition is absolutely amazing and we will certainly enjoy our prize”.

The win sees Pamela and Barry receive £1000 to spend on equipment from the Cobra range. We have the UK’s largest range of powered equipment, with new products being added every month, so they certainly had a lot to choose from!

In second place was Sarah Rayner’s garden in Mount Bures. With her £500 prize, she opted to splash out on a new lithium-ion battery powered hedgetrimmer and chainsaw, as well as a blower/vac to help keep the garden tidy!

Sarah Rayner (1)

Sarah Rayner was awarded second place in our Gardeners’ Garden Competition with Garden Answers magazine

Sarah commented: “When I received the email to inform me that I’d been shortlisted I was absolutely thrilled to bits. Keeping everything alive until the judges visited was a quite a challenge for all of the finalists during the hot summer! I was overjoyed to come in second place. As gardening is one of my passions you might be forgiven for thinking that there wasn’t anything I needed in the way of extra tools but you’d be wrong! It was Christmas come early and I was like a child flicking through the Cobra catalogue with a whopping £500 to spend!”

Third place was awarded to Mary Hayter in Brockenhurst, who for the past thirteen years has opened up her garden to the public under the National Garden Scheme, raising a staggering £35,000 for the charity in the process.

Mary received £250 to spend on Cobra products and commented “I am thrilled to have done so well, given the difficult growing conditions this year and with the judging coming at the time when the garden was desperate for rain. The Cobra tools will help tremendously with the maintenance and it’s exciting to be rewarded with such great products.”

For more information about the competition, visit https://www.gardenanswersmagazine.co.uk/

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How to Plant a Hedge

Autumn is a good time to plant a new hedge, as it gives the plants the best chance of survival and becoming firmly established. There are three keys to success – soil preparation, planting and aftercare.

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Begin the initial groundwork early by preparing the soil in your chosen area. Dig over the ground with a spade or fork, removing all weeds, roots and debris as you go. Add in good quality organic matter as you dig, then leave the ground to settle before planting.

To plant the hedge, rather than digging individual holes it is best to prepare one long trench. Dig a long strip in a single row and mark out the site first, then be sure to add more organic matter to help add nutrients to the roots.

Dig the trench to be one spade’s depth and 1m (3ft) wide, then remove all weeds and loosen the soil. When spacing the plants, try not to plant too closely to allow room to spread and develop. Place each plant slightly proud of the soil and fill in around the roots, then firm in well.

Then, when it comes to aftercare, particularly during the first year, it is vital to help the plant thrive. Do this by adding mulch to keep the roots moist and the soil temperature regulated. This will also help to suppress weeds. Then remember to water regularly throughout the year.

Cobra hedgetrimmer

Cobra Electric Hedgetrimmer – available with 55cm or 60cm cutting length

Evergreen hedges generally grow faster than deciduous so they will need trimming at least once a year – preferably twice. Cobra has a range of electric, petrol and battery hedgetrimmers for when the hedge becomes unruly.

Cobra has two electric models in its range. These are a 55cm blade width and 60cm. For more awkward jobs and trickier hedges there is the LRH40E long reach hedgetrimmer, which has an articulating head and maximum length of 185cm. Alternatively, in the petrol options, there is a 62cm or the long reach model comes with the choice of a Cobra or Kawasaki engine.

The latest additions to our hedgetrimmers are lithium-ion powered for extra cordless convenience. These have options of a 50cm 24volt model (the H5024V) or a 55cm 40 volt (the H5540VZ). The batteries on these are interchangeable with other Cobra products too.

When dealing with hedges it’s important to remember a few key points:

  • It is illegal to disturb nesting birds so it is best to leave pruning until autumn and check the hedge thoroughly for wildlife before cutting
  • Always remember safety comes first when trimming a hedge – never use hedge trimmers in wet conditions
  • Keep any chords untangled and out the way to avoid tripping
  • For extra protection make sure you wear safety goggles and sturdy gloves.

To view our entire hedgetrimmer range, click here.