Shepparton’s Tom Cipriani and Andy Sweeney have won first prizes in the annual Victoria in Bloom gardening competition.
Mr Cipriani won the Best Household Garden category, while Ms Sweeney won the Best Balcony category.
The Victoria in Bloom gardening competition recognises social housing tenants who maintain gardens in their neighbourhood and homes, celebrating the hard work they put in to produce some of the most attractive and sustainable gardens in their communities.
Mr Cipriani said he had been working at his garden for 14 years and a lot of the garden plants had been gifted by friends and family.
‘‘It’s good therapy for me, people walk past and admire the garden all the time and it gives them something beautiful to look at and I’m proud of that,’’ he said.
Ms Sweeney said her garden grew from whatever she could get her hands on.
‘‘I enjoy seeing what grows, I used cuttings, I didn’t do anything expensive, geranium cuttings, whatever I could get my hands on,’’ she said.
Ms Sweeney said she had lived in public housing for a long time and had always looked after her garden.
‘‘Its always been my passion to kill the myth that people who live in public housing destroy and don’t look after their gardens, I feel I have accomplished a small part of that,’’ she said.
Mr Cipriani’s and Ms Sweeney’s gardens reflect the incredible amount of time and energy they have spent to create vibrant outdoor spaces across a variety of garden types.
Member for Northern Victoria Mark Gepp said that Mr Cipriani and Ms Sweeney had exceptional gardening green thumbs.
‘‘Congratulations to all our gardeners and this year’s winners whose gardens are both attractive and productive,’’ Mr Gepp said.