L&H’s Green Fingered Gem

Green fingers, blooming marvellous and floral enthusiast are
just some words to describe Longhurst & Havelok (L&H)
Homes’ tenant and ardent gardener, Dennis Shaw.

Dennis, 75, from Arthur Lucan Close in east Hull won the city
wide and Park area best full garden categories in this year’s
Hull in Bloom gardening competition, his 26th award in the contest.
And if that wasn’t impressive enough his acclaims also
stretch to the Hull Centenary Citizen Award in 1997, for his
outstanding contribution to the life of Kingston upon Hull and its
citizens, and the Charter of the city for his gardening.

To celebrate Dennis’ success and thank him for his
gardening, L&H Homes surprised him with a personal letter from
Mike Hardy, the Managing Director, and £100 of gardening
vouchers. The presentation took place at an awards ceremony for
winners of the Hull in Bloom Park Area category on Wednesday 28
October at the Freedom Centre on Preston Road.

Gill Brown, Longhurst &
Havelok Homes
Neighbourhood Officer, said: “It’s an
absolute pleasure having Dennis as a tenant and I’m really
enjoyed surprising him and thanking him for the past 12 years
he’s delighted us all with his gardening.
“Dennis had not only wowed us with his garden but he’s
also maintained the street’s gardens and communal areas,
creating an oasis for the Preston Road community.”

Professional gardeners and council officers judge the annual
city-wide competition on design, colour, maintenance and

Dennis’ garden, which boasts a greenhouse, bridge and fish
pond, won the categories for the full garden.

Sue Green, Hull City Council Community Participation Officer and
Hull in Bloom Park area representative, said: “Dennis has
entered the competition every year and always wins an award.
However, this year he suffered a break in at his home where some
ornaments were broken and tools were stolen so he had to work twice
as hard.

“His garden is an absolute delight and improves year on
year. He’s a lovely man who really cares about gardening and
the local area and we took great pleasure in awarding him 1st prize
for the Full Garden category.”

Floral enthusiast Dennis started gardening in 1947 when he was
just 11 years old and entered and won a garden competition at
Maybury Junior High school, in Hull, for the best cultivated
schools boys’ allotment. Dennis went on to win the award
three years in a row.

“We didn’t have a lot of money as I was one of 14
but my mam was so proud of me that she bought me a pair of cricket
trousers which she turned up and dyed blue for my award
photo,” said Dennis.

Since then Dennis’ passion for gardening has grown, leading
him to win almost 120 acclaims, including 31 awards and a Hull in
Bloom title for 26 years. He’s also appeared on TV and met
former Gardeners World presenter and gardening expert, Geoff

His successes have even seen Barbara Windsor and the Queen pay
tribute and visit his garden when he lived on the Greatfield estate
in Hull.

“I loved meeting the Queen,” said Dennis.
“I’ll never forget when I asked her what her favourite
flower was and she said ‘Dennis every flower is my favourite
flower.’ Since then I’ve never favoured a part of my

When asked if he had any tips for budding gardeners, Dennis
enthused “Geoff said ‘Dennis always enjoy your
gardening and pass it on.’

“I can’t read or write but I truly believe in
talking to people and telling them to enjoy it.”

Dennis added: “My ambition is to win the lottery so I can go
to the Chelsea Flower with my wife Beryl.”

Dennis puts his green finger success down to a gift from God,
the help of his good mates and lovely wife Beryl, who makes him
lots of cups of tea to keep him going.