Woburn Sands Gardening Competition 2023

Cups and Prizes Ready for the Winners

Woburn Sands Garden Competition Results 2023

Kindly sponsored by Frosts Garden Centre


Once again Mowbray Green was bustling with people to find out the winners of the Woburn Sands 2023 Garden Competition ... Woburn Sands put on a wonderful concert and kindly gave us time in the interval to present the winners with their awards.

As usual the standard was very high and only separated by a mere grain of soil! Congratulations to the winners and to everyone else who entered. Many thanks to the judges for their time and diligence in assessing the gardens, and for Frosts Garden Centre for sponsoring the competition. A full account of the gardens can be found on the Town Council web site.

So that you can think ahead, next year’s theme will be ‘I can see a Rainbow’. Do start planning your garden now to make the 2024 entries in July the biggest and best.


Front Gardens

FIRST prize to 75 Elm Grove

 A well-tended garden full of evergreen shrubs providing spacious cover for birds with a lower layer of insect-attracting flowers such as Cosmos, Salvia, Achillea, Geraniums and Begonias and over-arched with a large cherry tree at the front. Plenty of hoverflies and bees.

SECOND prize to 59 Drayhorse Crescent

 Two very different gardens but both had excellent features for attracting wildlife.

 A small, rectangular front garden packed with over 20 containers set out on gravel and exhibiting a wide range of plants of different heights (effectively graded front to back) and colours, many with open flowers attractive to insects e.g. Mallow, Senecio, Petunia, Fuchsia, Verbena, Geranium, Nemesia, Lobelia and Erigeron: an imaginative way to achieve flexible and diverse planting in a very small space.

THIRD prize to 11 Elm Grove




Trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals, plus honeysuckle climbing up two small pergolas, all providing food and shelter for birds and insects, together with a small water bath. Plenty of insects about including bees, red admiral and small white butterfly and a silver Y moth. 

Back Gardens

FIRST prize to 8 The Leys 

A long, thin back garden that fulfilled the brief 100% to provide a rich home for birds and bees and other insects, as well as a variety of interesting things to discover for the human visitor. A cleverly winding path both gave access to, and provided diverse attractions along the entire length of the garden.

For the birds there were bird feeders, water, hangers containing nesting material and trees providing berries such as Rowan. For bees there were plenty of flowers providing nectar such as lavender and herbs...thyme, oregano and rosemary. Honeysuckle and Abelia provided scent and nectar for night flying moths.

There was also a meadow and wildflower area (including yellow rattle to help moderate grass growth) and a vegetated pond/wet area (good for newts). Various kinds of bees, hoverflies and butterflies were enjoying the garden including a meadow brown, gatekeeper, small white and green veined white butterfly. There were also several native trees including a silver birch, maple, ash and Scots pine and plenty of undergrowth, providing a good mixture of light and shade. A large bug hotel and a log pile encouraged invertebrates and hedges provided lots of habitats. A fine example of well-managed and ecologically productive 'wilding'.

SECOND prize to 67 Elm Grove

A delightful back garden that backs onto a small lake and encourages visits from badgers, foxes, squirrels, wild birds and insects. Plenty of bird food is provided from feeders and also berries from a rowan tree and pyracantha shrub. A small stream and bowl provides water and the flowers, including a Jasmine, Achillea, Buddleia, Phlox and a wildflower border containing Corn cockle, Borage and a white umbellifer, encourage insects.

THIRD prize to 38 Wood Street 

 This back garden is maintained organically and has plenty of simple flowers such as Oxeye daisies, Salvias, Cosmos, Sweet peas and Honeysuckle to attract insects. There was a bug hotel, hedgehog house, crab apple and apple tree. Several ladybirds, bees, butterflies and even a common darter dragonfly were seen.


The Garden Competition Judges 



FIRST prize to 22 Maple Grove 

 28 (!) containers and baskets all filled with a wide variety of well-maintained, brightly coloured flowers including single, open flowers such as Geraniums, Petunias, Nemesias, Verbenas, Gazanias, Dahlias, Osteospermums and Antirrhinums. Bees, plentiful hoverflies and small white butterfly were all present. An amazing display. 


SECOND prize to 1 Tavistock Close



Richly stocked baskets and containers containing Petunias, Fuchsias, Geraniums, Bacopa and Impatiens all attracting various insects.





THIRD prize to 38 Wood Street


Baskets containing Petunias, Geraniums and Fuchsias, for example attracting the attention of a gatekeeper butterfly.





Community Awards

Shelton Court


A large area made up of communal spaces and smaller gardens looked after by individual residents.




Several gardens had birdfeeders and water and there were also plenty of plants such as Buddleia, Lavender, Salvia and Scabious to attract bees and other insects, including a sighting of a humming bird hawkmoth. Some areas at the back had been left strategically unweeded, including a small patch of nettles (popular with certain caterpillars) and there were plenty of bushes and trees including oak, elderberry, hazel and ivy around the boundaries to provide cover and food for birds.

Swallowfield Busy Bees display at Woburn Sands Railway Station


Three small raised beds packed full of plants. The Lavender was attracting lots of bumble bees proving that Swallowfield's 'Busy Bees' had indeed created a garden for busy bees. Other flowers present were Geraniums, Salvias, Helichrysum, Dianthus and French marigolds and two giant sunflowers that will flower soon and provide plenty to interest both bees and birds (as well as humans!): a small space put to very good use.

More pictures ....