Green-fingered council tenants and leaseholders spoke about the joy their gardening gives to their communities, at the annual Birmingham in Bloom awards ceremony at the Council House. Around 50 district winners and their guests attended the ceremony in the Banqueting Suite.  City-wide winners in each category received a trophy, cash prize and gardening tools from the city’s Lord Mayor, Cllr Raymond Hassall.

Amongst this year’s winners was keen gardener Brian Jones from Acocks Green.  Brian, who scooped gold in the Best Balconies, Basket and Pots category, said: “I like to cultivate my balcony and pots because it gives me and other residents pleasure to look at them.  Neighbours tell me that my balcony helps lift the appearance of the whole area and makes people proud of where they live.”

Nareen Akhtar from Sheldon, who picked up gold for her vegetable containers, added: “Since moving into my current home, which has a large back garden, I started gardening – first growing flowers and gradually adding more vegetables in containers.  I’m finding it exciting to discover the range of fruit and vegetables I can grow.”

Winners were chosen by staff from the council’s award winning parks team and the evening was hosted by BBC WM presenter Mollie Green, with BBC WM gardening expert Darren Rudge sharing his gardening top tips.

Sponsors of this year’s competition were Willmott Dixon, Quadron, Cromwell and Glendale.  Prizes were given to the winners by Lord Mayor Cllr Raymond Hassall, Birmingham City Council’s cabinet member for Neighbourhood Management and Homes, Cllr John Cotton, and Birmingham City Council’s acting strategic director of place, Jacqui Kennedy.