The Coffs Coast Advocate/Supplied

Bloomin' lovely

THE wait ended for anxious Bundaberg gardeners on Friday when the winners of the Bundy in Bloom garden competition were finally revealed.

Plenty of people turned out to see the 10 category winners announced.

The most prestigious award is the Grand Champion Garden which was given to the Salvation Army Tom Quinn Community Centre and they were thrilled with the win.

“This is a dream come true,” said the centre's community services manager Tom Osborne.

“Our head gardener Ray Gough and outdoor supervisor Charlie Webster should be very proud.”

The centre opened in January 2003 and the garden has been a work-in-progress since late 2002.

“We wanted to create a peaceful, safe environment for members of the community who were suffering some sort of difficulty,” he said.

“Initially it was focused on people in rehabilitation, but we extended it to everyone who was suffering.”

The garden is tended by many people, including community volunteers.

“Thousands and thousands of volunteer hours have gone into this garden,” said Mr Osborne.

“The garden began as an overgrown area full of weeds and rubbish and concrete and glass.”

The centre also won the Most Colourful Commercial, Industrial Premises, Hospital, Motel or Caravan Park award for the fourth year in a row.

Competition judge Cr Lynne Forgan said she enjoyed assessing the gardens.

“It was quite challenging at times, but it was pleasing to see a range from around the region,” she said.

Cr Forgan said she is not an avid gardener but can appreciate a nice garden.

The community centre garden stood out to her and the other two judges.

“It is just so diverse with all the plants, it has the bush chapel, vegies and a rainforest section,” she said.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the judging and would do it again. It was great to speak to all of the gardeners around the region.”

The Tom Quinn Community Centre is already preparing for the competition next year.

“It's (the awards) been such a tremendous boost for the team. Ray (Gough) accepted and he was extremely nervous and chuffed at the same time,” said Mr Osborne.

“These awards are a testament to everyone who has contributed to the garden over the many years and we thank them for making this possible.”

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