Stevenage in Bloom: How does your garden grow?

THE weather has been gorgeous and April is forecast to be the hottest in 50 years so there is no excuse for people not to get out into the garden. And their work outdoors could earn them a prize. Green-fingered residents of Stevenage are invited to make t

THE weather has been gorgeous and April is forecast to be the hottest in 50 years so there is no excuse for people not to get out into the garden.

And their work outdoors could earn them a prize.

Green-fingered residents of Stevenage are invited to make their mark in 2007.

The Stevenage In Bloom competition, organised by the In Bloom Forum in partnership with The Comet and other local businesses, is the biggest yet with 13 categories.

So whether you are old or young, have a window box or floral street, manicured lawn or wildlife meadow, there's something for everyone. And it's free to enter.

The categories are:

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Best Garden: If you keep a well maintained, tidy garden this category is for you.

Best Container: It includes hanging baskets, window boxes, planters and more unusual containers for residents who don't have access to a garden.

Best Wildlife Garden: For those who manage their garden to encourage wildlife - insects, birds, butterflies, bats, hedgehogs.

Best Community Project: Whether you live in sheltered accommodation, a flat, belong to a church, or attend scouts or girl guides, this is the category for you if you have improved your environment.

Best School Project: Whether it's a nature trail or vegetable garden, show off your project and see how it compares to other schools in the town.

Best Pub: There are plenty of pubs that provide fantastic displays so why not compete against the rest?

Best Small Business: For Stevenage businesses with no more than 250 employees.

Best Large Business: For Stevenage businesses with more than 250 employees.

Best Road or Street Display: This is designed for residents who take pride in their local environment and try to make their street look colourful, tidy and attractive.

Best Young Gardeners (under-12s and 12-16-year-olds): Whether you do all the work yourself, or work with a brother, sister or friend, you should enter.

Best Allotment: Organised by the Stevenage Gardens and Allotments Association, this category judges the best allotments at each of the 15 sites throughout the town.

Best Flat Block: This is for residents who have made their block a more pleasant place for everyone to live by making the communal areas more attractive.

Best Water Friendly Front Garden: For any business, individual, community group or school, which demonstrates that, a beautiful garden is not dependent on using lots of water.

To enter a category collect an application form from the Comet office in Primett Road, Stevenage Garden Centre, Van Hage Garden Company or the borough council's customer service centre in Danestrete, or log on to www.stevenage.gov.uk/inbloom

For information about how to enter, ring 01438 242323, textphone (for customers with hearing difficulties) 01438 242555 or email inbloom@stevenage.gov.uk

The closing date for entries is June 22 with judging taking place during the first three weeks of July.

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