CALLING all gardeners!

The annual gardening competition, Billericay In Bloom, has been launched and greenfingered enthusiasts of any age are invited to enter their brightest blooms and greenest gardens.

The contest, which is now in its sixteenth year, is organised by Billericay Town Council.

Councillor Jules Botazzi *corr*, chairman of the council’s environment committee, is hoping for a bumper lot of entrants this year.

She said: “I’m really looking forward to it, I just love to see what the schools have done.

“It really is popular, I’ve only been a councillor for a year but people do get competitive, it’s really quite a lot of fun - I’m always jealous of the judges who get to go round and judge the gardens.

“Gardening is all to do with the fact we are living in times of austerity measures and people are realising you have to grow your own, it’s not a chore, it’s a fun thing to do.”

Local businesses sponsor the event, which includes a number of categories including, best vegetable plot, best hanging basket and a new category for 2013, best window box.

For businesses there is best commercial premises and best pub/restaurant, and children don’t miss out.

Youngsters can get involved with the best garden category for schools and nurseries, and for primary school children there is the best garden in a container contest.

The closing date for entries is Monday, June 17 and judging will take place on June 23 and 24. A prizegiving ceremony will then follow on Friday, July 5 at Canon Roche Social Centre, in Laindon Road, Billericay.

For more information call Helen Philpott, town clerk, on 01277 625732 or e-mail