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Garden is a slice of paradise; Mum's floral delight outside her flat takes top prize in competition.

Byline: By TOM MULLEN

HER dazzling display of flowers has won master gardener Esther Dadson a top award.

The green-fingered Newcastle resident wowed judges to win the best-kept back garden award in the South Heaton in Bloom contest.

Esther, of Rothbury Terrace, says she was "totally gobsmacked" to win the award from hundreds of entrants.

The 56-year-old said: "I was in Kent visiting my daughter when my husband rang to tell me. I was amazed.

"It's a very social garden. We always have people round for drinks and barbecues and they always said I should think about entering.

"But I never thought that much about it and certainly didn't think I'd win."

Her winning plot includes foxgloves, marigolds, huge daisies, geraniums, lilies and irises, to name only a few highlights.

There are also hanging baskets, tubs, arches and roses. The only thing Esther doesn't have is a pond. "But I have a tortoise and it would drown if I had a pond," she said.

The mother-of-two has lived at her ground-floor flat for seven years. She and her friend Lesley Flynn, who lives on the first floor, decided to knock through a partition to make a larger garden they could both share.

Esther added: "We became great friends and it went from there. And I became the gardener.

"It's a very natural garden. It attracts lots of wildlife. We have hedgehogs and butterflies. Basically there is everything in there you would expect to find between spring and winter."

Esther has now been invited to a South Heaton ward committee meeting later this month for an awards presentation.

Vouchers and trophies from the Newcastle City Council-sponsored award will also be given out for categories including best-kept yard, best hanging basket and best effort by a group of residents.

South Heaton Labour councillor Chris Bartlett said: "This is a fantastic achievement for Esther and it shows that people do put a lot of effort into their gardens.

"What we'd like to do is make this competition a more regular event and give people a good chance to plan.

"It's great for the area."

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SPECIAL HAVEN: Esther Dadson in her award-winning garden PICTURES: MIKE URWIN www.icNewcastle.co.uk/buyaphoto ref: 01176425
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 11, 2007
Words:371
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