A pensioner has won a gardening competition from beyond the grave – after her daughter entered it on her behalf following her death.
Green-fingered Gena Skuse, 76, has scooped gold in the Bristol in Bloom competition ten times since she began entering in the 90s.
She always entered in secret and never told husband John that she was in the running until she won.
So when she passed away in June her daughter Dawn Tadghighi kept up the tradition – secretly entering her mother’s beloved garden without telling the rest of the family.
And true to form, talented Gena – and her stunning floral haven – won first prize again.
Dawn, 53, said: “She called it her little sanctuary and it really is beautiful.
“She worked so hard on it and she would love sitting out there next to the fountain having a cup of tea or coffee.
“Not that she would be able to sit for long – she would spot a weed or something and she would have to be up tidying it.
“When she went into hospital and I asked her if she had entered this year she couldn’t speak but she told me no. Just 13 days later she passed away.
“After she passed away and we came back to the house and we were all just drawn to the garden to be close to her and we were doing a bit of tidying.
“I looked around and I thought ‘Yeah, I’m going to enter her again this year’ and I did – keeping up the tradition of keeping it a secret.
“When dad got the letter to say she had won it was amazing.
“I didn’t tell him because I didn’t want the pressure on him because he has found it hard going into her garden since she passed away.
“It is a tribute to her that she won again – a tribute to the hard work she put in to make a beautiful garden.”
Retired caterer Gena and childhood sweetheart John were married for 60 years before she passed away after a short spell of illness.
Her garden in Sneyd Park, Bristol, became a labour of love featuring a two-tier water feature and borders stuffed with ferns, purple larkspurs, white roses and pink peonies.
The back wall of the house is patterned with hanging baskets overflowing with daisies and pretty pink flowers, alongside a covered trellis archway which leads towards raised beds packed with peach and red pansies.
John, 76, a former docks foreman, said: “The garden was something in common – besides my love for her.
“She actually adored the garden. We would come out with a cup of tea and sit at the table.
“She was very proud for people to look at it and say ‘what a lovely garden’. She loved other people appreciating it.”
Eleven gold plaques and one silver are now displayed proudly in the garden.
Mike Crook, chairman of Bristol in Bloom Community Association, said: “It is a garden which has grown over the years but the quality has always increased.”