Locals with green fingers have until Friday to enter their gardens in this year’s Die Burger and PE Express PE Garden of the Year competition.

“We’ve had an overwhelming response thus far,” says Remax Independent Walmer’s Louw Lochner, the brainchild behind the competition. “When I set out to establish a platform to showcase the city’s top gardens, I never expected such a huge response.

“Entries have been rolling in since day one and I’m fearful that we won’t have enough daylight hours to get around to all of them. It is wonderful to live in a city where people are proud of their gardens.”

According to Lochner, he has access to many of the city’s houses in his line of work. “So many have fantastic gardens, but the public never get to see them.

“By the same token, there was no vehicle in place for homeowners to show off their handiwork, which I thought was a real shame.”

From an estate agent’s perspective, he says, houses and gardens definitely go hand in hand. “A nice garden might not necessarily increase the actual rand value of your home when you want to sell it, but it is a great sales tool.

“It adds to the ambience and distinguishes it from similar houses with unkept gardens. Buyers are more likely to buy a house with a nice garden at market value than one without.

“Your house should be the centre of attention, but your garden must complement it. Choose plants that help create balance, add interest and go well with your home’s design. The colours of your house, for example, can help you choose the colours of your flowering plants,” says Lochner.

“When considering plants or trees for a given area, be aware of the size they will grow to. This will keep you from placing large trees too close to the house or overshadowing your house with a huge, showy bush.

“Improve your garden’s curb appeal for buyers and judges by removing clutter, toys and tools from the lawn and dead plants and trees from the garden. Remember to clear gutters and spouts of leaves and debris.”

The PE Garden of the Year competition is held in conjunction with Sherwood Garden Centre, Re/Max Independent Walmer and Swabey Velthuysen Attorneys.

Categories include small, large, water wise and corporate gardens, with each winner receiving a R5 000 gift voucher. The overall winner will be selected from the four category winners. Small, large and water wise gardens can enter in the corporate category.

Fax the entry form that appears on this page to 041 581 1552 or drop it off at Remax House, 171 Main Road, Walmer, or Sherwood Garden Centre in Walker Drive.

For more information, contact Carmel Wolf at 041 398 4408.