Writtle College is getting set for the Young Gardeners of the Year 2015 after winning gold in the Ideal Home Show competition last year.
The contest, organised by TV Gardener David Domoney in association with the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community, launched yesterday <20 November>.
The annual 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 thousands at the Ideal Home Show. The show, held next March, will return to its original home at Olympia London, after decades of being hosted at the Earl's Court Exhibition Centre.
Each college attended an introduction to the project at the Ideal Home Show at Christmas at the Earl's Court in London yesterday.
FE Lecturers in Horticulture Ben Wincott and Simon Watkins are providing guidance to the team of students who are designing and building this year’s Writtle College entry.
Ben said: “Our entry last year focused on the theme of reclaimed urban space and the team created a pub that had been taken over and adapted by nature. We were thrilled to win gold last year and hope to build on that success this year!”
Simon added: “This competition is a wonderful way for our students to gain experience of constructing a show garden to a brief, developing creative ideas and working under the pressure of very tight deadlines.”
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 awards. 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 is given a 5.5m x 4m plot and the teams will need to both plan and design a garden that will demonstrate an understanding of harmony and sustainability. The garden should also incorporate a sense of proportion and clever use of the important vertical dimension in small, urban gardens and terraces.
The show gardens should inspire visitors by using clever planting, and the garden style can be traditional or contemporary. This year David is actively encouraging diversity of design and promoting clever use of water harvesting in the garden.
The gardens should inspire city dwellers, showing all that can be achieved in urban locations, creating a sense of tranquillity and sustainability for the home owner; it should act as an escape from the pressures of inner city life and bring a touch of nature to the heart of the metropolis.
Constantine Innemee, of The Prince’s Foundation, said: “With the help from an array of talented young gardeners we are once again highlighting the importance of green spaces in urban living, and the amazing things you can do with even the smallest amount of space. The variety of quality and creativity in the entries always amaze us, and we’re already looking forward to seeing what our competitors come up with this year.”
The Prince’s Foundation sets clear guidelines based on organic and sustainable principles, which have always been championed by the charity’s president, The Prince of Wales.
David Domoney, organiser of the competition, said: “Now in our fifth year, we will have given over 250 students the opportunity to create show gardens at a national show before they even leave the college gates. This is a great experience for them – many will be our garden designers and landscape stars of the future. This year sees a great line up of young hopefuls pitching their skills against rival colleges for the title of Young Gardeners of the Year.”
Each college will be asked to submit their garden designs before the beginning of February, when they will then have one week to build and plant their garden inside Kensington Olympia ready for the Ideal Home Show opening day on the 20 March 2015. Each garden will then be judged at the show.
The Ideal Home Show London will open its doors for 18 days from 20 March to 6 April 2015 at Olympia London.