Years of hard work rewarded for Gorebridge gardener

Wednesday October 11th 2023

2023 Melville Garden Winners landscape

Mrs Wilma Pake and her husband John in their award winning garden.

Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson

Melville Housing Association celebrated Scottish Housing Day and its 28th annual general meeting by rewarding a tenant for her tireless work creating a stunning garden in the Midlothian town of Gorebridge.

Mrs Wilma Pake and her husband John picked up this year’s ‘Baxter Keiller Award’ for outstanding Melville Housing Association garden, and the first prize of £100, for their fantastic garden that was praised for its variety, life and colour, while making the maximum use of space and embracing both beauty and functionality.

“What we loved about the garden created by Mrs Pake was the way it married the natural with the cultivated, while at the same time demonstrating the many hours of hard work that have clearly gone into it,” said Melville Chief Executive John McMorrow.

“As well as the vibrant flowers and shrubs at the front, the Pakes have also created a fantastically abundant garden at the back, growing a wonderful variety of fruit and vegetables, truly making the most of the space they have.

“As always we’ve all been enormously impressed by the quality of entries but particularly so by this year’s winner who thoroughly deserves her award. Congratulations to Wilma and to each and every one of our keen gardeners for all their hard work.”

Beating off stiff competition from a dozen entries covering the length and breadth of Midlothian, the Pake’s special garden is the culmination of years of hard work in their McLean Place home, where they’ve lived for over 20 years.

“I love spending time in the garden but I never thought it would win me a prize,” said champion gardener Wilma. “We didn’t even know we’d been entered into the contest until a chap came round taking photos but we’re over the moon to have been chosen as this year’s winner. I’ll look forward to spending my prize in the spring and see if I can’t make the garden even better next year.”

For her winning garden Wilma received gardening vouchers to the value of £100 with runners-up Diane Wright of Woodburn Drive and Mr and Mrs Szymanski of Oak Crescent (both Mayfield), each receiving a £35 voucher.

Now in its ninth year, the ‘Baxter Keiller Award’ is named in honour of a keen Mayfield gardener and Melville tenant who sadly passed away in 2014. Melville set up a gardening competition to recognise the work done in 2007 by Baxter, along with his neighbour Christine McGrouther, transforming a patch of Mayfield wasteland into a fantastic community garden.

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