Writtle University College has been crowned the 2017 ‘Young Gardeners of the Year,’ announced in line with the launch of the Ideal Home Show sponsored by Zoopla.
Each competing college was given a 5.5m x 4m plot to design a front garden demonstrating an understanding of harmony and sustainability. The gardens inspired visitors to the Ideal Home Show with clever ideas to try at home.
The annual awards, which are organised by TV gardener David Domoney (right) in association with the Prince's Foundation for Building Community, offer students an opportunity to showcase their work and celebrate the best of sustainable British gardening. The competition, now in its seventh year, has given more than 500 students the opportunity to create show gardens before they even leave the college gates.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, voiced his support for the competing colleges. "This competition is a great opportunity for talented young people to use their ’green fingers’ to design a garden thousands of visitors will enjoy,” he said, wishing contestants good luck in the contest. “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.”
The winning garden showed homeowners all that can be achieved with a front garden, giving pleasure to their visitors and brightening up the local community. It created a walkway that takes visitors away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, providing a beautiful, stress-free environment before they walk through the door.
Writtle University College was awarded Gold and Best in Show, Capel Manor College awarded Gold, Chichester College awarded Silver Gilt, Shuttleworth College and Pershore College awarded Silver and Askham Bryan College awarded Bronze.
Above: the students line up at the Ideal Home Show with ITV's 'Love Your Garden' presenters Frances Tophill and David Domoney.
Judges included Simon Sadinsky, head of education at The Prince's Foundation; Raoul Curtis-Machin, director of horticulture at the HTA; Andrew Gill, president of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture; Adrienne Wild, grower and garden writer, and Tim Jeffries, commercial director at Mr Fothergill’s Seeds.
The competition echoed the work of David Domoney, the competition’s organiser, on the Cultivation Street Community Gardening campaign. Domoney said: ”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, and Writtle University College's garden highlighted to the public just what can be achieved in a small front garden."
The Ideal Home Show runs until 9 April at London Olympia.