Winning topiary garden
Winners in the business category: St John's Church
Mary Cunliffe, a winner in the best concrete garden with her amazing array of pots
Nancy Walsh at 91 still an avid gardener who took 3rd place in the best front garden section
The Colliers Water Lane front garden
Neil's homage to Vincent van Gogh
Mayor Toni Lets presents Lorna Tooze with her trophy
A full house at the In Bloom presentation

Thornton Heath in Bloom winners showed nothing – not even broken bones or age – stands in the way of the pursuit of a beautiful front garden.

Mary Cunliffe, who won the best use of front concrete space for her Melfort Road front garden spends hours dead heading and watering – all with a broken ankle.

While another worthy winner Nancy Walsh, who took joint third in the Best Front Garden section, is In Blooms oldest competitor, at 91 and has one of the most well tended front gardens you are likely to see.

There were double the amount of entries in this year’s Thornton Heath in Bloom, with 72 residents and businesses entering the competition which was judged by garden designer Andrea Perry on: kerb appeal, effort, design, biodiversity and colour scheme.

The event which is in its  second year is organised by Thornton Heath Community Action Team and is part of the Thornton Heath Arts Week. The aim is to encourage residents to take pride in their front gardens and streets.

It was standing room only at the prize giving ceremony held at Streatham-Croydon Rugby Football Club with all competitors invited to attend to enjoy an evening of food and refreshments.

Croydon’s Mayor, Councillor Toni Letts, oversaw the prize giving ceremony handing out trophies and prizes to the winners.

The business premises category saw an upsurge in entries including: churches, schools, pubs and other organisations like  Age UK and  The Salvation Army.

In Bloom was supported with prizes given by local businesses and people including: Homebase, Tesco, Secret Garden, Reliance Academy tuition centre, Calm Oasis cleaners, YBR cakes, Croydon council along with wooden planters provided by Pete Lawrence of THCAT and local carpenter Richie Bowers.

Local people also bought along food to the prize-giving ceremony with Mystique Events sponsoring the refreshments.

Chair of THCAT Linda Watson said: “Thank you to ALL 72 entrants, spread out across Thornton Heath, for leading the way, making the area greener and healthier. We hope to double this figure next year!”


Best front garden: 1st:  Lorna Tooze, Howberry Road; 2nd: Neil Powney, Colliers Water Lane;  Joint 3rd: Nancy Walsh (pictured), Luna Road, and Barbara Commock Brigstock Road.

Best use of front concrete space with pots, planters and hanging baskets: 1st Mary Cunliffe, Melfort Road,  2nd: Mrs S B  Boodnah, Cassland Road, 3rd Neil O’Brien,  Quadrant Road.

Business premises: 1st: St John’s Evangelical Church;  2nd St James the Great School; 3rd: Leisure Centre Flower beds looked after by nearby residents Shirley Aldred and Janet Walsh.


1st: Lorna’s front garden wouldn’t look out of place at a National Trust property and scored top marks in all categories. This topiary garden has been lovingly shaped and crafted over many many years. It shows the possibilities which we should all aspire to when designing our front gardens – nothing is too difficult.

2nd: Colliers Water Lane is a similar rare find. It is beautifully designed and shows great innovation. Neil and his wife have created a mini oasis with plants many nurtured from seed. They were rightly proud of their Chinese fringe plant and water feature which Neil, a carpenter, made from sleepers and his tribute to Vincent Van Gogh – a framed easel with real-life Sunflowers growing behind.

Joint 3rd: Both gardens offered traditional values: Nancy’s garden is so well manicured, with its neatly cut lawn and beautiful roses while Barbara’s  offers great roadside appeal with a striking fig tree, Candy floss style Hydrangeas and clipped topiary.


1st: St John’s is the throughly deserved winner with a  romantic style of planting with Holly Hocks framing the door and great mix of herbaceous border.

2nd: St James the Great with their lovingly cared for planters and hanging baskets provides a  welcoming site each morning for parents and school children alike.

3rd: The flower beds a the leisure centre have been created by two nearby residents Shirley Aldred and Janet Walsh who rescued the neglected beds and despite a spate of plant theft have shown a real community spirit in enhancing this space.


1st: Mary’s front garden is an amazing array of pots and plants. Vibrant and colourful she really has made the very best of this concrete space. A recommended visit for the floral aroma alone.

2nd: When it comes to hanging baskets Mrs Boodnah certainly knows what she is doing. Just off the High Street these were the best examples of hanging baskets in Thornton Heath and offer fantastic kerb appeal.

3rd: Neil’s front garden really uses the limited space to great affect. This modern design is a great example of what the Royal Horticultural Greening Grey Britain campaign aims to  promote.