THE axed Gardenfest competition could be saved as a local business looks set to step in.

Organiser George Irvine says he is working with sponsors Cardwell Garden Centre to try to salvage the much-loved annual event.

The Tele told last week how the competition has been called off due to council budget cuts.

Now it is hoped that it could be relaunched in time for next year.

Tele gardening columnist George said: "I am confident that we can save Gardenfest in some way.

"It might not be exactly the same but I am sure we can do it differently.

"We will be looking at having lots of involvement with the kids.

"It is such a shame that the council chose to cut Gardenfest.

"All the nurseries and schools are involved in gardening.

"They are trying to show kids how to grow vegetables and plants, and how to recycle.

"I think Inverclyde has taken a step back the way by axing Gardenfest.

"I was at a Garden Scotland event and there is so much happening elsewhere.

"We are going to end up at the bottom of the pile.

"I hope that with Cardwell Garden Centre's help we can get it back up and running."

Funding has been withdrawn for Port Glasgow Bulb Show along with Gardenfest.

Publicly-funded Gourock Garden Party has also been scaled back as the local authority tries to save millions of pounds due to a cash crisis.

Former Gardenfest judge Walter Gilmour, who worked on the BBC's Beechgrove Garden show, spoke about his disappointment at the loss of the competition.

Walter added: "It would be great if the community could find a way to continue it.

"It is such a wonderful competition."