Sandown’s entry was spearheaded by Sandown Green Town Volunteers, who the judges commended “for the immense amount of time, hard work and dedication they put in to brighten up their coastal town”. They were praised for their upkeep of existing garden areas and their continued search for future projects to enhance the town, both horticulturally and environmentally.
The work being undertaken by the Friends of Battery Gardens to breathe new life into the gardens and encourage wildlife was applauded too, as was the improvements being made to areas along the Cliff Path, which already attracting pollinators. It was noted that throughout lockdown SGTV’s continued to beach and litter-pick whilst taking their daily walks.
The South East in Bloom judges recognised that like many seaside areas some hotels have fallen into disrepair, blighting towns. They praised the artwork decorating these ugly sites: knitted artwork covering the barriers with woollen flowers, insects and abstract patterns, colourful ‘wheels’ created from abandoned hubcaps and flowers modelled from plastic bottles turning them into art galleries to distract from the urban blight.
The highest marks in the entry came from the Environmental section where volunteers, guided and aided by ecological engineering specialists, Artecology, have created habitats for coastal loving plants and wildlife to flourish, with native plants allowed to self-seed. Particular mention was made of Sandown Seedbank where planting has encouraged a build-up of sand akin to the former dunes that were once there creating a habitat for native flora and fauna. Artecology have also introduced ‘vertipools’, artificial rock pools on groynes opposite Dinosaur Isle with an area of the beach reserved for the use of school children as a science beach.
On the ‘walk-about’ the judges were shown residential and business floral frontages that enhance the town and were introduced to some local residents and business owners whose hard work has delighted Sandown visitors and residents for many years. On a sunny day in July, the sun shone on Sandown, turning it gold.