The judging of a home garden competition launched recently by the Seychelles’ environment ministry will this year focus on sustainability, said a top official.
The director general for public education and community outreach, Jeanette Larue, told reporters that “for this year, we want to emphasise the use of sustainable ideas in the gardens, such as the use of recycled materials, composting… So, when we judge the gardens, we will not only be looking at the most beautiful gardens, but we will be looking at all the other criteria.”
Registration for the competition opened last week and will close on March 14.
The main criteria will include quality and diversity of the plants, creativity and innovations, sustainable practices, and social and wildlife impacts of the garden. Judging will be done in August.
“We will have three categories and that will include balcony or veranda, small gardens and large gardens. This year, we decided that we will not have a medium garden category as it takes up a lot of time to measure the gardens in order to place it in each category,” Larue added.
This year the staff of the ministry will visit all participating homes to see the gardens and advise them on how to improve them so that they can meet all the criteria requested she added.
The judges will be looking at the type of plants, the variety of colours, plants that complement each other as well as the integration of fruits and vegetables, while good layout, design and plant arrangements, will also score points.  
During the course of the competition, people will also be asked to send photos of them using their gardens as a family, which is something extra added to this year’s competition.
The idea for the home gardens competition started when the agriculture and environment ministry noticed an increase in the number of people who took up gardening during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The competition was also to encourage people to produce their own food and become more self-sufficient.
Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, imports 90 percent of what it eats and last year started refining its plans on food security.
In a press interview last year, the Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Climate Change, Flavien Joubert, said that “Seychelles is still very much dependent on the importation of its food and while there are increases in meat and vegetable production, a lot more still needs to be done to ensure the country’s food security, especially as the pandemic has shown us the importance of producing our own food.”

Source: Seychelles News Agency