It's official. Trentham Gardens is the UK's "Garden of the Year"
Described as the garden make-over of the decade by the Daily Telegraph last year, Staffordshire's Trentham Gardens has just been named the UK's 'Garden of the Year' in the annual BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards.
The award comes at the same time The Trentham Estate has announced record visitor figures to its famous Gardens for 2014.
Now firmly established as one of the UK's most visited gardens - after re-opening to the public 10 years ago following an award-winning restoration project by St. Modwen, the UK's leading regeneration specialist - Trentham Gardens was in a short-list of five gardens to win the magazine's prestigious awards.
This is the fourth year for the BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards - which relies on a public vote to determine winners in 12 separate categories.
The shortlist for the Garden of the Year award had been compiled by the BBC Gardener's World Magazine team; and Trentham Gardens - part of The Trentham Estate on the edge of Stoke-on-Trent - found itself lined-up alongside some of the most famous gardens in the UK, including the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh, Alnwick Garden in Northumbria, Kew Gardens in Surrey, and The Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall.
One of the most popular visitor attractions in the heart of England, The Trentham Estate was quick to urge everyone who has ever enjoyed a visit there to either pick up a pen, or log-on to the website, to show their appreciation of what has been achieved here since the gardens were re-opened to the public in 2004.
"We have so many people to thank for this" says Mike Herbert, Director of The Trentham Estate. "I think we all feel a little humbled by the support we received from all parts of the country, but especially locally. Trentham is one of those places that welcomes you, and makes you feel like it's your own.
"It has only just started to sink in: we've realised our dream of national recognition in such a short time. Our gardening team deserve special praise, obviously, but I think this award really needs to be dedicated to everyone who is now a part of The Trentham Estate - our visitors, and to the people of Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire who have taken our attraction so much to heart."
Countryfile magazine editor Fergus Collins, meanwhile, commented: "This is our way of saying thank you to the people and places that make the countryside so special. The awards clearly roused great passion and amassed thousands of votes, a testament to the strong contenders in each category. It was a closely fought competition generating great interest.
"Trentham can be justly proud of their title - they have been endorsed as outstanding examples in their field by our readership. It was a very popular category, and Trentham gained around 30% of the votes that were cast. It's a fantastic achievement, and refreshing to see a relatively 'new kid on the block' getting a look-in."
Countryfile magazine was able to reveal that Trentham Gardens received 3,272 votes out of a total of 11,173 votes in the 'Garden of the Year' category, beating last year?s winner The Lost Gardens of Heligan into second place.
Annual ticket holders, however, can now visit the gardens in Stoke-on-Trent safe in the knowledge that they can enjoy Countryfile Magazine's 'Garden of the Year' all year round!