A passionate Leeds gardener, from Tong Garden Centre, celebrated her 90th birthday with ITV's Love your Garden presenter Katie Rushworth after winning a personal shopping experience with the celebrity plantswoman.
Born and bred in Leeds, Ivy Dobson was one of ten winners ranging from five to 91 years of age who enjoyed Katie's company and benefited from her gardening expertise at Tong Garden Centre last Saturday.
In addition to choosing low maintenance plants for all year round interest in pots, Ivy was presented with a surprise birthday cake and a planter bursting with summer colour.
A delighted Ivy said:
"I love to come to Tong and this was a special experience on my birthday! I didn't want any fuss to celebrate but I've had a lovely day meeting Katie and choosing plants for my garden."
Ivy's daughter, Coral Wheatley, was equally enchanted with the experience:
"I'm writing on behalf of both my mum and myself to ask if you could pass on our thanks to all involved in the VIP Shopping Experience. It really made my mum's 90th birthday very special. Everyone at Tong was so nice to her and I know she thoroughly enjoyed every minute. The cake and Laura Ashley planter were a lovely and unexpected surprise - so thoughtful of you all. Thank you!"
The VIP Shopping Experience forms part of the ongoing partnership between the television presenter and Tong Garden Centre. Tong's Marketing Manager, Jo Dales, commented:
"Katie loves inspiring people and sharing her plant knowledge and garden design expertise, so we devised a competition to give people the chance to spend some time with Katie for a personalised shopping experience! It was a fabulous, family friendly day that has created some lovely memories, and ironic that Katie, known as the Queen of Spades, treated our winners to a wonderful experience on the Queen's official birthday!"
Other winners included five year old Olivia who watches Love your Garden on repeat and chose plants to decorate the front of her Wendy House; foster carer Janey who was looking for plants to create a miniature fairyland garden; community gardener, Paul who helps people with depression and was looking for grow your own edible plants and Lynne, who entered on behalf of her father to find an evergreen tree for a semi shaded spot.
Katie has also given her Show Garden, which is open to all at Tong Garden Centre, a fresh new look this year and will be advising people how to achieve year round colour, flowers and texture with her monthly plant picks to create a garden with annual interest.
Tong Garden Centre occupies a 14 acre site in Tong village. It is one of Yorkshire's biggest garden centres with 110,000 square feet of retail space and parking for up to 1,000 cars.