GARDENS have certainly lifted spirits during this year’s lockdown.

Although some gardens took a battering in August’s winds and rain, many are enjoying a bit of an Indian summer.

It is also now time to be looking ahead to winter and spring, so what are you planting and what preparations are you making?

We asked Northern Echo readers to share photos of their gardens – and what a fantastic response we’ve had. There are some stunning images of the plants taking pride of place.

To give us a glimpse into your front or back garden, send some details and pictures to

This week we look at some giants in the garden, and the tale of a 10ft tomato plant.

The Northern Echo:

There must be something in the soil in Crook. Clive Parker sent in these pictures of Dave Johnson’s sunflowers. Mr Johnson is about 6ft in height, so the sunflower must be at least double that. Clive and Dave estimated that the tallest must be about 13ft

The Northern Echo:

Echo reader George Wright sent us this brilliant picture, telling us this is the largest fuchsia bush he has seen. In full bloom it no doubt made an amazing sight

The Northern Echo:

Derrick Robinson, 80, who lives near Catterick Garrison, has been amazed this year by a tomato plant that has not only grown to at least 10ft, but is not even in a pot.

Keen gardener Mr Robinson noticed the seedling pushing between the paving in his greenhouse many months ago, but did not imagine it would survive.

He said: “I’ve not watered it, nor fed it and it has grown twice as big as my other tomato plants. It’s huge and it’s just grown between the gaps in the paving slabs. It’s beyond me how it has survived.”

The Northern Echo:

Derrick Robinson’s top tip for serving tomatoes: cut in half, with a sprinkling of salt, pepper, vinegar and sugar

The Northern Echo:

Derrick Robinson’s laden tomato plant that has grown through the cracks in the paving slab

The Northern Echo:

Is this the largest cabbage you’ve seen? This was grown by Michael Pickles and was the winner at this year’s show at Willington working men’s club earlier this month. The cabbage weighed a whopping 63lb, and was grown from a seed donated by Michael’s friend John Simpson. The cabbage was given away at the end of the show