A Great Dunmow flower grower and community gardening leader won several awards for her 'inspiring' designs at BBC Gardeners' World Autumn Fair.

Cara Thompson won the Visitors' Choice Best Beautiful Border and a Gold Award at the event, which took place at Audley End House and Gardens.

The 'beautiful borders' are compact 9m-square designs which offer inspiration for small gardens and challenging spaces, and are packed with design features and creative planting.

This year's theme for the beautiful borders was 'My Garden Escape', and Cara's design was based around her new-found love of gardening.

Dunmow Broadcast: Cara Thompson's winning 'beautiful border'Cara Thompson's winning 'beautiful border' (Image: Jason Ingram)

Cara began gardening during the first national lockdown, and was on a mission to get her garden to flourish.

Delighted by the joy her new hobby brought her, Cara was keen to encourage others to start gardening and growing.

She began hosting a live weekly Make It Flourish 'sow and grow-along' on Instagram, which attracted thousands of followers.

Cara now hosts a regular community gardening meet-up where a range of members - from war veterans to mums with children - sow seeds, grow flowers and make new friends.

Her 'Make It Flourish Together' border is her first ever show garden design, and was inspired by the riverbank walk to the Make It Flourish group's community gardening space in Great Dunmow.


Some of the plants grown by the group have featured in the design, and members were involved in planting and chatting with visitors to the show about their experience.

During the show Cara also ran live, drop-in 'sow and grow-alongs' at her border.

The Autumn Fair, held in association with English Heritage, saw 18,000 visitors flock to Audley End House and Gardens in Saffron Walden.

Rachel Poletti-Gadd, from Immediate Live - which organised the event, said: "Audley End is a magnificent setting for the Autumn Fair and we were thrilled to see so many visitors enjoying themselves over the weekend. 

"We can’t wait to be back next year with more exciting new features."

The BBC Gardeners' World Autumn Fair will return to Audley End from Friday, August 30 to Sunday, September 1, and tickets will go on sale in spring.