Cambridge garden nominated for BBC magazine award
Inspired by the Moorish colours and architecture of southern Spain and North Africa, John Tordoff's Cambridge garden has been catching the eye of the likes of Alan Titchmarsh and Diarmuid Gavin.
His hard work has earned him a place on a shortlist of 11 gardeners from around the country who are competing for BBC Gardeners’ World magazine’s people’s choice award.
Launched earlier this year, the competition asked readers to nominate their private gardens to win the coveted accolade. Nearly 500 entries were whittled down to a shortlist of 11, from which Wayne Amiel’s Jamaican-inspired South London garden was named the judge’s choice.
Now, all 11 shortlisted gardens are open to the public vote for the people’s choice award, including John’s garden in Cambridge, which finished third and was highly commended in the judges’ choice category.
John, a professional actor and contemporary artist, has been a keen gardener for many years.
“Wherever I’ve lived, I’ve designed a new garden,” he said, “so I’ve thought a lot about garden design in my time.”
Recalling how he ended up being nominated for the award, he said: “I saw this competition in around April time and it was to send photographs in to enter.
“I thought I had quite nice photographs of it, so I sent them in and then a few weeks after I heard that we’d been shortlisted. Then it was revealed in this month’s edition of the magazine that we came third in the judge’s award.”
Third place won John a holiday to Tuscany for two, courtesy of sponsors, the Flight Centre.
Another of the judges, Kate Gould, said of John’s garden: “What a wonderful piece of theatre – the hard work that’s gone into this small space is astonishing.”
“We were judged third by a panel of judges which included Alan Titchmarsh and Diarmuid Gavin,” said John. “It’s a very small garden at the back of our terraced house in the centre of Cambridge.
“It’s a patio garden, full of pots, and it’s a sort of North African garden – the sort of garden you might find in southern Spain or Marrakesh.
“I’ve been on holiday in southern Spain and Morocco and when you’ve got a garden as small as this, you have to think in terms of a courtyard garden – and the great courtyard gardens are to be found in southern Spain and North Africa.”
Voting for the peoples’ choice award closed yesterday (November 1). The winner of the award will be revealed in the December issue of BBC Gardeners’ World magazine – available in stores from November 22.
BBC Gardeners’ World editor Lucy Hall said: “This year’s entries to our gardens of the year competition prove that we’re not only a nation of passionate growers, but we’re also truly global in seeking inspiration for our gardens.
“Escapism was the clear design trend that leapt out for judges, from the largest plot to the tiniest courtyard – a creative response, without doubt, to the pressures we all feel today from city living and our always-on society.
“This trend is set to grow, with more of us than ever improving not moving, investing time and money in making outdoor spaces as inviting and relaxing as our homes.”
More by this authorAdrian Peel