October 5, 2009

Prize-winning plastic lawn criticized

A British woman said her victory in a garden competition was spoiled by spiteful letters in her local paper criticizing her artificial lawn.

Jan Brooker, 64, of Brentwood, England, said letters appearing in her local paper after she won first place in the Brentwood in Bloom contest's First Time Entry category called her a cheapskate for using plastic grass on her lawn, the Daily Mail reported Monday.

Contest officials confirmed Brooker's artificial lawn did not break any rules but the retiree said the criticism has dissuaded her from entering the contest again in the future.

It was horrible. I found it really upsetting. It's so petty and small-minded. Perhaps it is bitterness, maybe they entered but didn't win, Brooker said. "I can't believe how horrible some people can be. I never set out to deceive anybody. The judges would have been able to see it was artificial grass.

Perhaps the judges were looking at the whole aspect of the garden, the well-tended planting and the hanging baskets, and appreciated the effort that goes into it, she said.