Writtle College alumnus Ian Price has won a gold medal at RHS Tatton Park 2014 with his show garden representing the four elements.
Ian graduated in 1998 with a BSc (Hons) in Landscape and Garden Design and now owns his own business – Ian Price Design – in Ballyclare, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.
His design was selected as one of five gardens in the Elements section of the Flower Show – gardens designed around the concept of earth, air, water and fire.
Ian’s garden represented all four elements with the lawn, planting beds, pool and hard landscaping featuring the triangular symbols of the four elements, used in an abstract manner.
Earth was depicted by the planting, lawn and Biochar compost mulch. A triangular sail shade and the plants moved in the breeze, symbolising air. Flame-textured paving and charred larch cladding on the wall represented fire, along with planting reminiscent of flames in shades of red and yellow. Water was featured in the triangular-shaped pool.
The 37-year-old said: “To be picked to make the show garden from more than 30 people in the first place was a real honour and I was really chuffed as I had never done an RHS Show before. I was quite surprised as my garden was different – I wanted it to be a real garden rather than a picture or a fanciful concept. I like to call myself a traditional modern designer – I like gardens to be able to be used; to be about people and plants.
“When they came around with the gold, I was tired and emotional to begin with as I had been working so many hours. They walked past me, asked me my name and gave me the medal, face down. I turned it over and I was literally speechless for a few minutes. All I could do was walk towards my girlfriend, who was a contractor on the garden next door, and point at the medal.
“To hear one of the judges, Mark Gregory, who builds four or five gardens a year, say that he couldn’t fault a single element of the hard landscaping in the garden was amazing.”
Ian set up his business 10 years ago after working with a landscaping contractor. He credits Writtle College with giving him the skills he needed to succeed in the industry: “I learnt from the ground up. So many designers do not have a clue how to build anything but I don’t think you can design a garden without knowing how to build it. I felt that Writtle College broadened my mind but narrowed my focus on the skills I needed to succeed, whether that was how the industry runs, marketing, running a business or contracting work.”