Winners of Gunnersbury Park Garden Estate ‘Front Garden Awards’ announced

Image: Winner of the Best Overall Garden category, Mr Stephen Moss with Vice-Chair of the Gunnersbury Park Garden Estate Residents’ Association, Mr Richard Barden and Chair of the Bat Corner Association, Mr Andrew Stevens

First event of the estate’s centenary celebrations

The residents of Gunnersbury Park Garden Estate have taken part in their first ‘Front Garden Awards’ as an opening event in a series of celebrations to mark the centenary of the estate.

While Bedford Park is well-known as the first ‘garden suburb’, described by Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman, as “the most significant suburb built in the last century, probably the most significant in the Western World, ” Gunnersbury Park Garden Estate in Chiswick is also amongst the first to be designed and built as a garden suburb, fifty years later.

Bedford Park will be celebrating 150 years next year, and Gunnersbury Park Garden Estate will be celebrating 100 years.

What is now the Gunnersbury Park Garden Estate was originally White Point Field orchard, part of the Gunnersbury Park estate owned by the Rothschild family in the 19th century, before the residential estate was laid out in the early 1920s. The family of the former Keeper of Gunnersbury Park, Keeper Hodges, still live in the estate.

Taking this heritage seriously, the residents put a lot of effort into their gardens. They were invited to enter in six categories, and these are the winners:

  • Best overall garden – Mr Stephen Moss, 196 Gunnersbury Avenue
  • Most colourful garden – Mr Tony Traxler, 42 Princes Avenue
  • Best garden design – Ms Claudia Hearne, 18 Park Drive
  • Most pollinator-friendly garden – Ms Kelly La Velle, 148 Princes Avenue
  • Best use of pots and planters – Mrs Vanessa Cham, 142 Princes Avenue
  • Best shared neighbours’ garden – Mrs Angela Khan & Carmen Okolski, 14 & 16 Princes Avenue
  • Kid’s choice – Ms Claudia Hearne, 18 Park Drive

Images: Best overall garden – 196 Gunnersbury Avenue; Most colourful garden – 42 Princes Avenue; Best garden design – 18 Park Drive; Most pollinator-friendly garden – 148 Princes Avenue; Best use of pots and planters – 142 Princes Avenue

The event was run as a collaboration between the local Residents’ Association and the recently-formed Bat Corner Association, set up by residents to protect green spaces on the estate after  Transport for London wanted (but failed to get permission) to build a car park on one of the estate’s green spaces last year.

READ ALSO: Transport for London staff car park at ‘Bat Corner’ turned down

Image: Judge Constance Craig Smith with Claudia Hearne, winner in the Best Garden Design category

Promoting biodiversity was a big factor in the residents’ decision to organise the awards.

“My feeling is that biodiversity and care for wildlife should be a requirement (or at least a major asset) for all categories” said Constance Craig Smith, gardening writer for the Daily Mail and English Garden.

The other judges were Neeth Abey, horticulturalist for Capel Manor College, Gunnersbury Park and Dr Karen Liebreich MBE, co-director of Chiswick Flower Market and head of Abundance London, which cultivates unused bits of land with flower gardens to provide biodiversity in urban spaces. Abundance London does a lot of work in Chiswick and Karen’s work has been featured on the BBC’s Gardeners’ World.

READ ALSO: Abundance London

READ ALSO: Gardeners World comes to Chiswick

Image: Stephen Moss, winner of the Overall Best Garden award

Prizes were donated by some top British companies, and included a hamper from Fortnum & Mason, a top-of-the-range Webb Garden Power lawn-mower made by British equipment manufacturer Handy, and seed bundles and smaller prizes from the heritage UK firm, Mr Fothergills as well as bird boxes from Abundance London and vouchers from Chiswick Flower Market.

“Winning the Best Overall Garden award for 2024 was nothing short of a delightful surprise for me” said winner of the Overall Best Garden award Stephen Moss.

“For years, I’ve believed that front gardens are the unsung heroes of our homes. Despite living in a modest flat, I’ve always strived to make the most of every inch of space”.

“I am absolutely delighted to have been awarded two rosettes at the Front Garden Awards” said Claudia Hearne, winner in the Best Garden Design category.

“This is my first foray into designing a garden, so to win Best Garden Design is a huge honour”.

Her garden was also chosen as the children’s favourite.

“It has been a great pleasure to see the children become interested in the plants and why they are essential to the ecosystem.”

Image: Dr Karen Liebreich; Constance Craig Smith and Kelly La Velle, winner of the Most pollinator-friendly garden award

Kelly La Velle, winner of the Most pollinator-friendly garden award added she was:

“Amazed and pleased with our award! Providing food, water and shelter for pollinators and wildlife was an important part of our garden design.”

Images: Andy Slaughter; Karen Liebreich with runner-up Lillian Agar

Among those at the prizegiving was Andy Slaughter, Labour’s candidate in the General Election for the new Hammersmith and Chiswick constituency, who was previously the MP for Hammersmith.

“The Front Garden Awards has really galvanised the local residents and we will try to make it an annual event going forwards. Well done to all of the organisers, judges, winners and everyone who made an effort!” said Richard Barden, Vice Chair of the Gunnersbury Park Garden Estate Residents’ Association.

“I’m very impressed by the efforts put in by many people in the Gunnersbury Park Garden Estate for the Front Garden Awards. The great community spirit shown here can only bode well for the Estate’s centenary celebrations in 2025!” said Andrew Stevens, Chair of the Bat Corner Association.

Image: Runners-up Pam Case, Valentine Warner, Sasha Notley and Danusia Juszczakuewicz

Photographs by Laurent Widloecher.

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