2023 LTT Annual Garden Competitions winners announced 

Lemon Tree Trust (LTT) has awarded 162 winning gardens in its annual garden competitions this year – 63 more prizes than last year.   

Competitions took place in nine refugee and IDP (internally displaced people) camps across the Kurdistan Region of Iraq again this year with 18 gardens from each camp being awarded prizes. 

To take part in the competitions, residents simply needed to have a love of gardening and to want to share their love of plants with others. Every garden entered was unique, reflecting the personality of the gardener and how they use their outside space – whether that’s a green sanctuary to pause with a cup of tea, a safe space for children to play or a well organised area for growing produce. In camps, materials and resources are limited, so there was an array of hand-built picket fencing, water fountains and vertical planting schemes using recycled materials.  

Party time! 🎉

Parties were organised in each camp where winners were presented with cash prizes and certificates signed by LTT and camp managers, as well as gifts of plants and seeds. All prizes were given to first-time winners, meaning that there were no repeat winners from previous years. At each party there was a small refreshment buffet and hand-crafted celebration cake – because no good party is complete without a cake!

Team effort

The competitions are coordinated by LTT’s Operations Manager Aveen Ibrahem, who lives in Domiz 1 camp. Aveen manages a team of camp coordinators across the region who distribute seeds and plants and encourage people to create home and community gardens, promoting the mental and physical health benefits of gardening and ways to improve local environments. 

Camp coordinators reported that competition was stronger than in previous years due to distributing flower seed packets to residents ahead of the competitions starting, therefore creating buzz and excitement in the neighbourhoods. The coordinators, together with Aveen and LTT’s central gardening team, worked together to shortlist and select the winning gardens.  

Aveen says:

“This year we wanted to do things a little differently with our competitions – to celebrate everyone’s beautiful gardens and dedication to greening their neighbourhoods – in a bigger way than usual. So, we increased the number of prizes being awarded and threw a garden party in each camp.

The parties were so much fun. Each winner was formally presented with a certificate and prize, and everyone was able to meet and chat with other gardeners over a slice of celebration cake.

We are all living in challenging circumstances and growing with limited resources. But the competitions help us to forget those difficulties for a moment and bring us together to share new stories about our future.”

Since 2016, when LTT first launched its garden competitions, interest from gardeners across the region has grown. In its first year, 50 entries were received in Domiz 1 camp, and in 2023 more than 2,300 entries were received across nine camps.   

View all 2023 winning gardens   

Scroll down for a photograph selection of winning gardens from each camp.

Bersive 1 camp

Bersive 2 camp

Domiz 1 camp

Domiz 2 camp

Essian camp

Gawillan camp

Kabartu 1 camp

Kabartu 2 camp

Khanki camp

 

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