Cottage garden wins top award at Wollondilly Council's spring garden competition

Hannah Rebelo and her family have spent the past eight years perfecting a cottage-style garden at their Picton home.

Now all of that hard work has been rewarded with the Rebelo family garden chosen as the Grand Champion award winner at this year's Wollondilly Council Spring Garden Competition.

Ms Rebelo said this was the first time she had decided to enter the annual competition.

The avid gardener said it was "humbling and overwhelming" to take out the top award.

"I had always put it off because the garden looks its best during in autumn," Ms Rebelo said.

"It always looks pretty - and in spring it has a lot of colour because of the roses but in autumn it really is show-stopping.

"I decided just to enter this year because I figure a garden is never finished, there is always work to be done and the judges are gardeners too so they can picture what it would look like year round."

Wollondilly mayor Robert Kahn the judges toured every garden entered in the competition.

"I'd like to congratulate all the talented gardeners who took part in this year's competition," he said.

"It has been a difficult year, but seeing these beautiful gardens is a sure way to lift people's spirits and celebrate spring in Wollondilly."

Ms Rebelo said her favourite garden plants included the sticky wallaby bush, roses, silver birch trees and emu bushes.

She said she included a mix of exotic and native plants to create her backyard oasis.

"We used both exotic and native plants because there are a lot of native plants ideal for cottage gardens that I think are under-used," Ms Rebelo said.

"We definitely try to keep the garden looking good all year round but for about two weeks before the competition we spent a fair bit of time just making sure it was as tidy as possible."

Ms Rebelo said her garden started out as a way to tidy up their yard.

"I originally just wanted something aesthetically pleasing because when we moved onto our block it was just covered in weeds," she said.

"Now we have become plant collectors and it turned into a way for us to create a habitat for wildlife."

Ms Rebello encouraged other locals to consider entering the competition next year.

"I think it's a great way to encourage people to get out there and care about their garden," she said.

"We have so much wildlife, like birds and insects, that live in our garden and it is so nice seeing new species visit."

Full list of winners:

  • BEST SCHOOL GARDEN - Cawdor Public School
  • BEST EDIBLE GARDEN - Greg and Janette Touzel
  • BEST NATIVE GARDEN - John Butler
  • BEST COURTYARD GARDEN - Sharon Robertson
  • BEST SMALL GARDEN - Robert andCarolyn Walton
  • BEST FLOWER GARDEN - Hannah Rebelo
  • BEST COMMUNITY GARDEN - Agris Hutrof House - Taara Gardens
  • BEST SENIORS GARDEN - Gordon Clipsham
  • BEST ENVIRONMENTALLY SUSTAINABLE - Hendrik and Atun Heijnis
  • BEST BUSINESS/COMMERCIAL GARDEN - Lizzie Buscaino (Piccolo Farm)
  • BEST LARGE/RURAL ACREAGE GARDEN - Gerard & Sandra Colucci
  • JUDGES AWARDS - 1. Joy and John Dries 2. Nicole Barraclough 3. Judith McLachlan 4. Bill Robertson 5. Michael Petty