A GROUP of New Cumnock garden enthusiasts are keeping their green fingers crossed for success in this year's East Ayrshire garden competition.

Volunteers from the New Cumnock Community Garden Group have been working around the clock to get their village looking at its best ahead of the entry deadline at the end of this week.

The group has transformed the village in recent months, planting pollinating wildflowers, hanging baskets overflowing with beautiful plants and decorating vacant areas across town. 

Graham Greig, a trustee of the New Cumnock Development Trust, was keen to help with the group's entry.

He said: "It’s all about raising the profile of the community as well, making it a place people want to stay and not just drive through, and to that end we hope it will be a success.  

"It’s definitely people of a certain age who take part. I don’t know how engaged young people are - it may not be a young person’s thing, but I have been surprised a couple of times while watering the hanging baskets when some young people have said ‘that’s great, it's great that all of this is going on’.

“On the whole, this is engaging the community and giving us a sense of pride.

“We’ve not got a lot going for us in New Cumnock, but community spirit is still well to the fore."

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Going beyond the competition, which is being judged from July 11 to 29, the group hopes to have “bespoke benches” installed by the council which Graham describes as “absolutely stunning.” 

The gardeners also have their eyes set on creating a community garden where people can grow their own vegetables - along the lines of the Netherthird Community Garden in nearby Cumnock.

The competition is open to anyone living in East Ayrshire with a garden regardless of its size.  

The winner and runners-up will be judged in several categories such as ‘best council garden’, ‘best planters or hanging baskets’ and ‘best vegetable garden.’  

A new prize has been introduced this year in memory of Jennifer Elliot for her dedication to public service and her role as “a driving force behind the garden competition.” 

Nominations for the award close this Friday, July 8. To nominate, click here.

East Ayrshire Council officers will contact entrants to arrange access if required.

The winner of each category will be chosen by officers from the local authority's Housing and Greener Communities department.

The overall winners will be selected by representatives from the East Ayrshire Federation of Tenants and Residents.