A former Writtle University College student is leading one of five hopeful teams whose design will be judged in the APL (Association of Professional Landscapers) Show Garden competition at the 50th anniversary of BBC Gardeners' World Live event in June.
James Lanwarne, Director of Lanwarne Landscapes (Garden Design & Construction of the Finest Quality) studied Garden Design at Writtle to expand the repertoire of his business.
Commenting on his learning experience, James said:“Studying at Writtle completely transformed my business, my career and my life.”
In June 2016, just five years after graduating, James and his team, including Landscaping Designer Martin Lines, entered their design 'Fire and Ice' into the Beautiful Borders category at BBC Gardeners' World Live. The garden was a huge success and made a big impression on visitors and judges, and BBC Gardeners World celebrities including Monty Don, Joe Swift, Carol Klein, James Alexander Sinclair, Jim Buttress (The Queens Gardener) and Matt Biggs (BBC Gardeners World Question Time, Radio 4)
On winning 'Gold' and 'Best Border in Show', James commented: “We really weren't expecting the design to attract so much attention. We were a highlight of the show, the impact was immense and way more than I ever expected.”
The win gave the team the confidence and inspiration to enter this year's APL Show Garden competition which asked designers to create inspirational, aspirational and achievable gardens within a space up to 50 metres square.
Speaking about the beginnings of the design, Martin said: “This garden is designed for a couple in their early thirties, they work long hours in the City and have an active social life. A relaxing space is essential after a hard day's work, including an outdoor dining area, and the garden must have a clean and contemporary feel.”
A hexagonal shape runs throughout the design, including the paving tiles and fire pit, and subtly makes reference to honeycomb. Materials such as black slate cladding and blue black granite complement timber painted in shades of black ash, raspberry and stone grey.
The design also incorporates the clients' passion for the conservation of bees and butterflies, as Martin explains: “We chose plants specifically to attract bees, butterflies and other insects in shades of pinks, whites and blues, and the living picture is planted with specially grown moss. Some of the timber posts also have bee and insect houses drilled into them and the bubble fountains are more than just a water feature, they are safe places for the bees and insects to drink from.”
James, Martin and the rest of the team including another WUC graduate, Ben Thomas, James Curnock, Mike Merino, and James Merlo, will have two and a half weeks to build the garden on location before the show opens.
With preparations underway, James said: “Entering the Beautiful Borders category last year was an amazing experience and a real eye-opener because we got to see how it all works. We are really excited to be part of the 50th Anniversary show. The opportunity to showcase Martin's design and our high level of craftsmanship at such a prestigious event is something we have been working towards for some time. We are very passionate about our work and the industry as a whole and are so grateful to have made the APL Avenue"
'The Contemporary Bee and Butterfly Garden' by Lanwarne Landscapes can be found on the APL Avenue at BBC Gardeners' World Live from 15-18 June at the Birmingham NEC.
Writtle University College is renowned for offering specialist courses in subjects including Landscape and Garden Design, Horticulture and Floristry.
Visit writtle.ac.uk/courses for more information.