Eyes on the prize for WUC students at Young Gardeners of the Year 2017

January 2017

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(NOTE: This is an archived press release.)

A team of Writtle University College students and staff have been busy creating their inspirational garden design as they bid to win gold at this year’s Young Gardeners of the Year competition.

The event – which is now in its seventh year and has previously seen WUC win Best in Show and the People’s Choice award – is organised by TV gardener David Domoney in association with the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community to celebrate 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.

Led by horticulture expert and WUC lecturer, Ben Wincott, the team of Further Education students have now finalised their design concept and are now busy bringing their design to life ready for the main event which takes place at The Ideal Home Show in London in March.

Ben Wincott said: “This year’s team have been working tirelessly to create a design that really matches the requirements of the brief. They have been thinking outside the box and working collaboratively to refine the concept and have all contributed well to the development process.

“It is vital that we focus on sustainability within the garden and that is an area that we frequently teach students on our courses. We have some creative and unique features such as sustainable urban drainage which we believe adds a very different feel to our concept. We are very confident the judges and visitors will be impressed with our design.”

This year’s brief, which was announced at the launch event at the end of 2016, requires each college to create a front garden. The front garden must inspire homeowners on what can be achieved in front of a house, giving the owner a spectacular welcome when they come home, and an aim to brighten up the street.

In a unique twist to their design, the organisers have also specified that all gardens will be given a 140 litre wheelie bin, which must be displayed in an attractive and appealing way in order to hide the bin, whilst still providing easy access for it to be taken to and from the roadside.

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 says: “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.”

Each college will be asked to submit their garden designs before the beginning of February, when they will then have five days to build and plant their garden inside Kensington Olympia ready for the Ideal Home Show opening day on the 24th March 2016.

Each garden will then be judged at the show on the 24th March 2016, by the esteemed panel of ambassadors and curators.

The Ideal Home Show London will open its doors for 18 days from 24th March – 9th April 2017 at Olympia London. Tickets can be either booked online via www.idealhomeshow.co.uk