A COUPLE have won the top prize at the Henley in Bloom Awards for the second time.
David and Karen Thatcher, of Gainsborough Crescent, were presented with the Henley in Bloom Challenge Cup for best overall entrants at this year’s awards ceremony, which was held at the town hall on Thursday last week.
The couple were awarded gold in both the front patio and back garden categories, scoring full marks in the latter.
Town councillor Kellie Hinton, who chairs the Henley in Bloom committee and was one of the judges, told them: “The judges were just amazed by your gardens, which are clearly the result of dedication and hard work.”
The Thatchers, who also won the trophy in 2014, grow their own fruit and vegetables including courgettes, tomatoes, kale, sweetcorn and peas, which they freeze and eat during the winter.
Their garden also features a pond, bridge and colourful floral displays and the couple spend evenings and weekends deadheading and keeping it looking its best.
Mr Thatcher, 64, an engineer, said: “We are both very keen gardeners — we grow all our own flowers and use all the seeds they produce.
“We’re always looking for something unusual so the garden isn’t the same all the time.
“It’s good fun and hard work but it’s a way of relaxing. When it all comes to life it is amazing.”
This year he installed a ramp for the pond so hedgehogs could get in and out.
He said: “The garden is full of frogs and basically that stops the slugs and snails. It creates a natural ecosystem.”
Mrs Thatcher, 49, a teaching assistant at Valley Road Primary School in Henley, said the garden includes a species of flower beginning with every letter of the alphabet.
She added: “It’s our little sanctuary and way of relaxing.”
The awards categories included front gardens for patios and lawns, back gardens and community gardens as well as pubs and restaurants, sponsored by Higgs Group, publishers of the Henley Standard.
The ceremony is held jointly with Henley Allotments Association, which presents prizes for best plot and best newcomer at the Greencroft and Watermans allotments.
For the full results and more pictures, see this week's Henley Standard.
idth='555' height='330' style="vertical-align:text-top; float:center; margin-bottom:15px" >