Award-winning Poole tourist attraction, Compton Acres hosted Great Dorset Gardens, a competition which celebrated the talents of amateur gardeners and photographers across Dorset.

The competition received more than 250 entries, which were judged by an expert panel including horticultural consultant to Compton Acres, Mary Payne MBE, and Bournemouth in Bloom chairman Revd. Chris Colledge BCAc.

There were four possible categories to enter: Favourite Homegrown Garden and Favourite Pots /Container Arrangement which were judged based on horticultural merit. The other two categories, Favourite Garden Photograph and Favourite Plant Photograph were judged on photography skills.

Great Dorset Gardens’ expert judging panel whittled the entries down to two finalists in each category, which were then put to a public vote on Facebook to crown the winner in each category. More than 500 votes were cast across the four categories.

Rachel Damon was the winner in both the Favourite Garden Photo and Favourite Homegrown Garden categories with her bright, colourful, and tranquil patio garden, with views into trailing greenery and vined trellises.

Commenting on the winning entry, Chelsea Flower Show Gold winner, Mary Payne MBE, said: “The garden in the picture invited the viewer in with the desire to see more. What other secrets lie beyond the gate? Rachel’s garden demonstrated horticultural flair and a sense of theatre. The scene was set for an intimate evening G&T!

“The seating area was enhanced by the Japanese maple in a pot, top dressed with pebbles, showing good attention to detail. The plants all appeared well grown and trained and were set off against the white wall and trellis and the colours all complemented each other. Well done.”

Vicky Crane won Favourite Plant Photograph with her bold and captivating close-up of a vivid green Fatsia polycarpa. Members of the public who voted for Vicky’s photograph said:“This is amazing, the colour, focus and detail is incredible. A mesmerising and enchancing photo of great depth. Well done."

The prizes for Favourite Pot Arrangement were secured by Joan Stokes, for whom the public voted for her vivid arrangement of red geraniums complimented by pink and white hydrangeas.

Bournemouth in Bloom chairman Revd. Chris Colledge BCAc, said: “The garden with its glorious array of potted red geraniums, together with pink and white hydrangeas provide a most welcoming feature to this patio area. The white pots contrast with the colour of the flowers and the mix of annuals with perennials blends exceedingly well. There is the formality of the planted pots, but one is also mindful of the personal addition of animal figures which also give enhancement to the design. The plants are in excellent condition and it is evident that every care to detail has been observed. A most welcoming garden.”

Courtesy of Compton Acres, the winners in each category will receive an Annual Pass to Compton Acres, a guided tour of Compton Acres with Mary Payne MBE and a £30 Compton Acres Garden Centre Voucher.

Based in Canford Cliffs, Poole, Compton Acres is an ornamental garden, recognised as one of the finest privately-owned gardens in England. Created in the 1920s by a margarine entrepreneur, with five themed gardens built to reflect the entrepreneur’s travels across the world, Compton Acres boasts hundreds of species of plants, as well as a magnificent collection of trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants. The beautiful 10-acres it covers boasts five themed gardens including the oriental Japanese Garden and the vibrant Italian Garden, which is home to the award-winning Italian Villa.