Another year, another prize giving night. On 12 October 2023 Harry Loots, APS NSW treasurer, received the top award, the Order of the Shovel for the most beautiful native habitat garden by the North Sydney Council. During the evening Costa Georgiadis, Gardening Australia presenter, entertained the gathering with salient messages about the environment and the necessity of gardening as a healthy activity.
North Sydney Council has run annual garden competitions for over 20 years. Harry has been a past recipient of the award and has a rusting 2004 cast iron trophy at his front door for a previous award.
An open garden competition may display some of the worst plant selections, however, a competition where there is an Australian plant section or, as in North Sydney, a Native Habitat Garden, gives an Australian plant garden exposure. Costa Georgiadis encouraged the growing of Australian plants during the prize giving and by the night’s end Harry had received much congratulation and possibly had given some encouragement to those willing to grow Australian Plants.
Costa mentioned the ANPSA Biennial Conference hosted by APS NSW in 2023 in Kiama and went further to support the growing of Australian plants. He also said that he wished more local councils had garden competitions. Garden competitions encouraged a positive relationship between local government and residents.