Why do you garden? competition - Winning entries

In April we ran a competition in our magazine inviting subscribers to send in no more than 100 words in answer to the question: Why do you garden?"  The prize was a free pair of Genus Japanese secateurs, worth £80.

The winner is Evelyn Houghton and this is her entry entitled "Why I Garden":

"I open the door.  I feel the soft breeze stroke my face; I stop and fill my lungs with sweet fresh air.  My  senses awaken as I walk down the path – the song of birds, the hum of bees, green, green foliage, flower colours, then wafts of fragrance from lavender and roses.  I bend, stoop, kneel, stretch,  dig and trim, am filled with delight at new growth, bursting buds, fruits of my labours.  This is my space, my creation, my life-line, as I’ve now become not only a wife, but a carer- wife."

We received literally hundreds of entries and these are some of the runners up.

"I think it’s in my genes and is part of my being. From, as a toddler, finding ‘magic pennies’ from my grandfather’s money tree to working with my mother in companionship and to advising my own daughter; it’s a hobby for a lifetime and a better life." - Carol Green

"Ah! an almost eternal question. In brief I do it for the sheer pleasure of  (hopefully) aiding nature, longevity giving exercise and the satisfaction (perhaps with a degree of smugness!) of looking over my plants and vegetables whilst relaxing on my terrace with a refreshing drink or three." - Lionel Mendoza

 "I garden as a job and for pleasure. The peace, the exercise, the beauty, occasional frustration, the weather. All these things mean when I’m not gardening I miss it terribly. I’m 60, may I be able to garden for many more years." - Sophie Pringle

"I garden because I enjoy it and live in hope of one day having the garden I dream about (not going to happen!) My idea of heaven is gardening on a warm sunny day listening to Test Match Special on the radio – bliss!" - Norma Ellis

"I’ve always gardened because I’ve had to, since I had a garden, just to keep it looking tidy and nice. And I like seeing the flowers growing. I’ve never grown vegetables, just a bit of lettuce."- Norah Radcliffe

"I love being outside in different seasons working with the soil and all the amazing variety of plants. Gardening is great therapy – stress reliever and good exercise. I love creating cottage style borders, mixing plants to blend colours and textures and scents. It’s very creative." - Liz Sutherland

"I enjoy the challenge of growing plants especially ones that I will be able to eat. I like working outdoors and also enjoy the hard landscaping aspects of gardening." - Alan Appleby

"To keep my family in fresh fruit and veg for the year. I do have proper ‘wild flowers’, snowdrops, bluebells, cowslip, primrose, etc, for their sheer natural beauty." - Debs Bradley

"Love doing something out in the fresh air; doing something with your hands; explore the wonders of nature; doing something with my husband; I get carried away from negative thoughts; totally forgetting time or stress." - Conny Taylor

"Love flowers, get some exercise; want the surrounding of the house to look nice; enjoy buying plants; see what comes out of these little seedlings; like looking at beautifully laid out flowerbeds; trying to create a cottage garden or a herbaceous border." - Hans Schmidt

"I love the escape and creating interesting visual and scented gardens for myself and others. My influence Ken Turner, who I knew in the sixties, he had an amazing eye. My father is a gardener and how he is retired we grow plants together – which is the only thing we have in common. I love planting on roofs and facades of building." - Lynda Matthew

"I garden because I believe it keeps me fit, my brain active and my spirit refreshed. I feel content when I garden, also I’m addicted to potting up plants for sale." - Davina Davies

"As a Christian, I believe the old adage 'you are nearer to God in the garden than anywhere else on earth'. I am privileged to make my living as a gardener, which allows me to use my creative gifts." - Paul Cranham

"There is nothing quite like the smell of freshly cut grass, tomato vines and buddleia. The best moments are when a plant or tree suddenly flourishes after two to 3 years of constant attention. All of this gives me the greatest of pleasure." - Paul Webster

"Gardening is time to spend outside, surrounded by beauty. I believe the green thumb runs in my family. My mother and grandmother were both crazy about gardening. I always had knowledge of plants growing up because I was surrounded by them. I believe it’s just in my genes to want to be in the garden!" - Phyllis O'Keefe

"I can’t stand seeing bare soil, always has been like that. Even when I was fresh out of college and had no soil in my third floor flat, the balcony was full of potted plants. For me, it’s therapy. It calms me and keeps my mind distracted from the stress of life." - David Davidoff

"Gardening is a way to watch something grow from a seed that can feed your family; it always amazes me. I really love working in the garden every year." - Billy Saunders

"Besides being obsessed with gardening I am an artist and have this need to define space. Gardening allows me to create, using plants as a visual medium. Plants, with their leaf shapes, stems, and patterns add a compelling and pleasing graphic element to the environment. I also love growing my own food." - Emily Thomas

"When I owned my first little house and planted a pot of yellow marigolds I knew I was in it for life. I’m drawn to the garden as a place to be creative, enjoy the birds and get out of my own way for a while. And just breathe!" - Alison Brown

"The “seeds” were planted when I watched my Grandma in her sun hat weeding her rock garden. I was about five years old. I can’ t ever remember not being involved with gardening. Best of all are the friends you make who share your passion." - Richard Morris

"I just can’t seem to ‘not garden.’ Maybe it’s because I’m English. I can actually stare at my garden for ages and just appreciate what we can do to, even in small spaces. When we go out, I’m only interested in the gardens." - Alice Tago

"You go as fast or as slow as you feel you want to go, and that deafening silence that only peace, perfect peace, can bring." - Samantha Scott

"If I can get one person to take a step in my shoes and try gardening and just see why I garden, I think they’d feel good about life." - Tony Pritchard

"What more reason could you have for believing that all’s right with the world than when sitting in a peaceful garden, surrounded by living, growing plants, listening to birdsong and watching small fluffy clouds drifting across a blue sky? Aaahhhh." - Suzie

"Our garden has been the centre of family life, children playing, tea, BBQ & vino! We have a beautiful variegated acer that is a year round pleasure. It's special to enjoy a fragrant rose as it opens, also the wildlife. Next challenge - veg growing!" - Ann

"Ride on mowers, being outside on crisp winter days and warm, sunny, autumn ones, eating vegetables I have grown from seed, revelling in the exuberance of bulbs, the spicy scent of roses on a hot day, watching planting schemes come together, the look on a happy customer's face when it all goes right = the good things!" - Charlotte

"Gardening is a battle, each spring you go to war and by autumn you have won some and lost some. So exhilarating and every year a new challenge. I toil in the vineyard, battle in the veg patch and fiddle about in the flower beds. Beats going to the gym." - Jenni