GUEST house owner Narinder Bhella is among those vying for glory in this year’s Oxford in Bloom contest.

The owner of the Green Gables Guest House in Abingdon Road has won nine awards in the annual contest.and scooped a gold award for his bright and bold garden.

Residents, businesses and schools are being encouraged to take part in this year’s Oxford in Bloom.

Judges, including members of the Royal Society of Horticulturists and other experienced gardeners, will view entries from July 21.

They will be judged on colour, tidiness, impact and quality of plants, and how well the garden has been looked after.

Mr Bhella, who is hoping to win his 10th award this year, said: “When I took it on in 1999, one of our guests was very into flowers and I just got my interest from her.

“I liked gardening anyway. Even before this I was in my garden whenever I had a day off.”

Mr Bhella, 53, said: “I’m looking forward to this year’s contest. I’m going to play around and change things completely.

“Now I’m just waiting for the right weather to plant the stuff.”

Oxford in Bloom committee chairwoman Karen Roberts said: “This is a competition for back gardens, front gardens, planters, anything. It doesn’t matter what size your garden is, anybody can enter.”

Oxford Mail:

Oxford in Bloom committee chairwoman Karen Roberts

She said: “We really want more people to enter. It doesn’t have to be a perfectly immaculate garden – it can just be a hanging basket.

“Oxford in Bloom just gets people in the garden, and makes the city look nice. It gives people a pride in their city.”

This year’s competition has a new category for Florence Park Estate residents as part of the estate’s 80th birthday celebrations.

Estate resident Abi Simmons, who is helping to organise events, said: “There are people who have pretty gardens in the estate and a lot of people do take care of them.

“We want to make that spread across the estate and get everyone to take care of their patch so people feel proud of it.

“When people are proud, there’s less crime and anti-social behaviour.”

Prizes of £25, £50 and £100 will be awarded to the top three entries in each category, as well as a certificate and trophy.

Closing date for entries is June 29 for schools, and July 6 for all other categories.



  • Small garden
  • Large garden
  • Balcony
  • Container (hanging basket, planter, etc)

Gardening for the disabled

Florence Park in Bloom

Business and commercial:

  • Universities and colleges
  • Large commercial display
  • Small commercial display


  • School/Community group
  • Individual
  • For more information, visit