crab apple, smoke bush, fuchsia, evening primrose and of course a Handel rose. Until arthritis deterred her this year she also volunteered at the National Trust’s Buckland Abbey where she could weed away within an inspirational landscape. By gardening against the odds, my mother and I appreciate it as an important source of our happiness. I tell this story as a source of inspiration to others and to encourage openness about family challenges. You can inspire people too by entering this year’s competition and help grow the message of the healing power of gardening. YOUNGGARDENERS AGAINST THE ODDS New for this year is a special Young Gardeners Against the Odds category, which will celebrate under 25 year-olds who have responded to Alan Titchmarsh’s recent heartfelt call to reconnect with “apples rather than Apple Macs, plant cells rather than cellphones and raspberries as well as BlackBerrys”. Two young people who have already discovered for themselves how gardening can help overcome life’s odds are Dan Baxter and Hayden Evans. They won a Gardening Against the Odds award in 2012 for turning a derelict site into a thriving terraced vegetable garden. Nominated by the Bath charity Mentoring Plus, which supports vulnerable young people aged 12 to 17 through mentoring, Hayden and Dan were thrilled to receive their award from the famous conservationist David Bellamy at the presentation THE JUDGES The panel of gardeners and conservationists will judge the shortlist of entries and nominations in October. From The Sunday Telegraph are Life editor Anne Cuthbertson and writer Francine Raymond and from The Conservation Foundation are its co-founders David Shreeve and David Bellamy. They are joined by the Duchess of Northumberland, creator of the Alnwick Garden, actress Susan Hampshire, Guerrilla Gardening’s Richard Reynolds, writer of the article alongside, Craig Sams, founder of Green & Black’s Organic and Carbon Gold, Christopher Woodward, director of the Garden Museum, previous award winner Annie Maw, Tim Richardson, writer and director of the Chelsea Fringe and Frank Wilson, husband of Elspeth Thompson, to whose memory the Gardening Against the Odds Awards are dedicated.
r Janet, right, who battled depression and planted the seeds of horticultural ambition in her young sons, far right (Richard on the left)