It was judgement day in gardens across the city this week, as the winners of this year’s Oxford in Bloom competition were selected.

Months of planting, watering, pruning, mowing and deadheading came to a climax as judges Trisha Stevens and John Alcock assessed the gardens in the Oxford Mail-sponsored competition, which this year celebrates it silver jubilee.

More than 60 people entered Oxford in Bloom, across 10 categories, including colleges, schools, community therapy gardens and domestic plots.

Mrs Stevens said: “The gardens we have seen have definitely improved.”

Fellow judge Mr Alcock added: “One of the biggest things we have noticed is the amount of effort that has been put in.

“You have got to give them credit because it’s clearly not a five-minute job.”

As well as familiar gardens and old faces, there were first-time entrants.

English teacher Celia Robinson, 60, of Argyle Street, was competing in the small garden category because her daughter had encouraged her to take part.

She said: “I’ve always had big gardens and found them quite beyond my control.

“This was a big mess when I came and I have been able to stamp my ideas on it.”

Milkman Keith Moore, 58, of Dashwood Road, Rose Hill, has been working on his garden for two years.

He said: “I have never entered before and I left it right until the last minute, then just decided, ‘Why shouldn’t I?’”

“I am really pleased with it.”

Stanley Garrod, 86, first put forward his large garden in Tree Lane, Iffley, in 2008 and has won his category more than once.

He said: “It’s really my hobby these days. I have been working up until dusk some nights recently, to get the garden into what I consider to be tip-top condition, and I feel I have got it reasonably good at the moment.”

Chris Perks, 59, of Palmer Road, also has a clutch of gold awards from the contest and is entering his small garden and a container this year.

He said: “I probably spend about two hours a day in the garden and three at the weekend.

“I love gardening and I always get a lot of enjoyment from it.”

Gerry Webb, 65, of Frys Court, Greater Leys, has transformed his corner of the communal gardens in his block of flats into a burst of colour. despite being confined to a wheelchair.

He does not have use of his legs and has partial use of one hand and full use of the other.

He said: “It is very hard gardening from my wheelchair, but I love doing it.

“One of the neighbours lifts the baskets down for me, so I can deadhead the flowers, but I do the rest myself.

“I come out every single night, except when it’s raining.”

Nora Murphy, 90, and her daughter Marcella Murphy, 52, work in their garden in Nuffield Road together.

Mrs Murphy, who has arthritis, is entering the gardening for the disabled category and spends time deadheading and watering.

Her daughter added: “Because my mother is wheelchair bound, I like to have it nice for her sit in and escape a little bit.”

For bricklayer Derek Risby, 59, making his garden at flats in Ferry Hinksey Road look its best is not just for his own benefit.

He said: “It’s communal gardens, so I do all this for the community. If I’m not working, I’m gardening.”

The Oxford in Bloom winners will be announced during an awards ceremony in September.