Hat-trick for Bishopstone gardener

Portaits of Geoff Stonebanks and close ups of his garden
Portaits of Geoff Stonebanks and close ups of his garden

A GARDENING hat-trick has been scored this summer by the owner of Driftwood Garden in Bishopstone.

Geoff Stonebanks, of 4 Marine Drive, was appointed an Assistant County Organiser for the National Gardens Scheme in East Sussex in June this year, after starting to open his garden for the organisation in 2011.

This was to be the start of a gardening roll as he then found out his garden was one of the four finalists in the Daily Mail National Garden Competition, selected from more than 1,200 entries nationwide.

Described by Monty Don as the horticultural equivalent of the Olympics. Geoff is now the proud owner of a cast iron blue plaque to mark this fabulous achievement, considering his is a small plot 112ft by 42ft at its widest, front and back.

The judges said: “I’ve seen hundreds of gardens over the 21 years of judging the Daily Mail Competition and believe me, you are up there with the best of them.”

Now to make the hat trick, Geoff has been told that his garden is the national winner of the Garden News Magazine Gardener of the Year Award for Best Small Garden chosen from hundreds of entries across the country.

The garden was shortlisted to the final 15 then judged to be the overall winner, for which Geoff receives a trophy and vouchers for more plants to add to several hundred he already has in both his front and back garden.

To really put the cream on top of these achievements, Driftwood has raised more than £15,000 for various charities both local and national and £8,000 this summer alone.

Since Geoff first opened his garden in the summer of 2009 it has gone from strength to strength, with more than 50 openings, more than 5,000 visitors and he has baked them more than 2,000 cup cakes.

Geoff said none of this would be possible without the invaluable assistance of Mark Glassman, Celia Hughes, Richard Walsh, Clare Mayers, Rosa Bottrill and Janice and Mario Dennington, who have all given a tremendous amount of time and effort to support the fundraising initiatives, not to mention the generous visitors.

Geoff has already set all his opening dates for 2013, the Mayor’s Open garden Trail and Macmillan Coastal garden Trail. Check out www.driftwoodbysea.co.uk or contact Geoff on 01323 8992896.