Horticulture students from Pershore College scooped a prestigious silver medal with their spectacular urban garden in the Young Gardeners of the Year Awards 2017 at the Ideal Home Show in London.
The annual awards, organised by TV gardener David Domoney in association with the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community, celebrate young ‘green’ talent and offer students a great opportunity to showcase their work. The competition, now in its seventh year, has given over 500 students the opportunity to create show gardens that will be seen by a quarter of a million visitors at the Ideal Home Show.
Each of the six competing colleges was given a 5.5m x 4m plot to both plan and design a front garden that demonstrates an understanding of harmony and sustainability. This year the focus was on making Britain’s front gardens green again, in line with David Domoney’s work on the Cultivation Street Community Gardening campaign.
After months of preparation, the second year Level 3 Horticulture students had just six days to build and plant their garden – “78 Edible Avenue” – inside Olympia London ready for the Ideal Home Show opening day on 24 March. The garden stays on display throughout the show and visitors can vote for their favourite to be the winner of the People’s Choice Award, which will be announced on the last day of the show.
After receiving their Silver Medal, student Matthew McCallum,19, said, “Our garden is designed to encourage a community feel – for neighbours to enjoy and share the produce grown there. The colours are bright and cheerful too, which add to the welcoming feel – and make it stand out.
“We did have some challenges during the build, but by working together we got through them – the teamwork has been great.
“I’m really happy with our silver medal. The whole experience has been fun, stressful – a bit of everything! It’s great to see the garden finally finished and the public seem to really like it as well which is fantastic.”
The judging panel was led by Simon Sadinsky, Head of Education at The Prince’s Foundation and included Raoul Curtis-Machin, Director of Horticulture at the Horticultural Trade Association, Andrew Gill, President of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture, Adrienne Wild, grower and garden writer and Tim Jeffries, Commercial Director at one of the UK’s biggest seed producers, Mr Fothergill’s Seeds.
Andrew Gill said: “I was very impressed with the variety and detail in the designs and the quality of finish was astounding. Some of the ideas on show might even appear in my front garden! I have no doubt that the students all have a bright future in the landscape profession and I wish them well.”
David Domoney, organiser of the competition, said: “I’m immensely proud to work with The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community, along with the Cultivation Street Community Gardening campaign. The Young Gardener of the Year competition offers students the opportunity to build show gardens at a national event before they even leave the college gates, which is not only fantastic practice for them, but also a great confidence-booster. These young garden designers and landscape stars of the future are encouraged to use sustainable practices, which they will confidently pass on through generations. The careful planning, hard work and effort that goes into each of the show gardens is truly inspiring.”
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, also voiced his support for the competing colleges, saying: “This competition is a great opportunity for talented young people to use their ’green fingers’ to design a garden thousands of visitors will enjoy. It could also be the start of a fantastic career in landscaping and design. In London our much loved green spaces boost the environment, improve air quality and enhance our neighbourhoods and I wish all entrants the best of luck in creating the best sustainable garden.”
Pershore College offers a wide range of horticulture courses including apprenticeships, full and part-time courses and degrees. For more information, go to www.wcg.ac.uk or call 0300 456 0049.