Pershore students going for gold in Young Gardener of the Year 2017


Students at the launch with tutor Paul Bearcroft and TV gardener and organiser David Domoney

Horticulture students from Pershore College will be competing to win a third consecutive gold medal at the 2017 Young Gardener of the Year Awards next year.

The annual competition, now in its seventh year, is organised by TV gardener David Domoney in association with the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community. The competition celebrates young ‘green’ talent and sees six of the UK’s leading horticultural colleges go head-to-head to create a show-stopping, sustainable garden that will be visited by a quarter of a million visitors at the Ideal Home Show at Olympia London.

Lecturers Mike Roberts and Paul Bearcroft will be guiding the group of Level 3 Horticulture students through the competition which kicked off at a launch event at the Ideal Home Show Christmas at Olympia London. Pershore College students have won gold medals in the last two competitions.

The launch began with a short introduction and outline of the project by David Domoney who briefed the participating colleges on the objectives of the competition and provided handy hints and tips. There was also a presentation from Simon Sadinsky, Head of Education at the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community, outlining principles and brief for this year’s show.

The Prince’s Foundation sets clear guidelines based on organic and sustainable principles and the importance of front gardens. The Young Gardeners are tasked with creating a show garden that will capture the imagination and inspire the judges and visitors, with clever plant association.

Simon Sadinsky, The Prince’s Foundation’s Young Heritage Apprenticeship Coordinator, said: “This year, we want to see designs that will inspire homeowners to bring back colour and life to the street, and that really sell the benefits of nurturing this space. In the past decade alone, 4.5 million more front gardens have been concreted over. We know this has severe environmental impacts, from flash flooding to declining wildlife. As a nod to this, we’ve asked competitors to incorporate harmony and sustainability into their design. We’re also looking for gardens that demonstrate a smart use of space – a way of showing homeowners you can still have storage space for household items, like the wheelie bins each garden will be tasked with housing.”

David Domoney, organiser of the competition and former student at Pershore College, said: “To date we have given more than 500 garden landscaping and design students the opportunity to build show gardens at a national event before they even leave the college gates. It’s always a great privilege to see Great British talent come together to compete for the title of Young Gardeners of the Year, and with this year’s focus on front gardens, I can’t wait to see them come to life.”

This year’s Show Gardens will be judged by an expert panel, which includes horticultural industry leaders, home and garden magazine editors and acclaimed garden designers. Entrants will compete to win the gold, silver gilt, silver or bronze award. The overall winner will receive the Best in Show award, and visitors will be able to vote for the winner of the People’s Choice Award.

Each college will be given a 5.5m x 4m plot. This front garden must be a focal point and inspire homeowners and passers-by on just what can be achieved in front of a home. The garden should appeal to the homeowner’s senses and the colours and design should offer a spectacular welcome when they come home and aim to brighten up the neighbourhood. Careful consideration of the door, and access to the front door should be included in the design.

The show gardens will inspire visitors by utilising clever planting, and the garden style can be traditional or contemporary. The gardens will inspire city dwellers, showing all that can be achieved in urban locations.

Each college will be asked to submit their garden designs by the beginning of February. They will then have five days to build and plant their garden inside Kensington Olympia ready for the Ideal Home Show opening day on Friday 24 March 2017.  Each garden will then be judged at the show by the esteemed panel of ambassadors and curators.

The Ideal Home Show London will open its doors for 18 days from 24 March –  9 April 2017 at Olympia London.

Pershore College offers a range of horticulture and garden design courses at all levels. For more information go to

About Association of Colleges West Midlands

AoC West Midlands promotes and supports the interests of 38 general further education, sixth form and specialist colleges throughout the West Midlands region. The West Midlands is a diverse region and our colleges reflect this diversity. From small specialist colleges in rural locations to large inner city establishments, colleges reflect the needs of their local environment. Working closely with employers, learners and the local community, our 38 member colleges offer a broad range of flexible learning opportunities for individuals at all levels. They aim to give local people the skills they need for success and prosperity, tackling barriers to learning and providing opportunities that meet the needs of individuals and employers
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