Writtle University College has been crowned the 2017 ‘Young Gardeners of the Year,’ (sponsored by BriteLite) announced in line with the launch of the Ideal Home Show sponsored by Zoopla, running for it's 109th year.
Each competing college was given a 5.5m x 4m plot to both plan and design a front garden that will demonstrate an understanding of harmony and sustainability. The young gardeners used clever plant combinations, incorporating a sense of proportion with clever use of the important vertical dimension in small, urban gardens, whilst incorporating an innovative way to store a wheelie bin. The show gardens inspired visitors of the Ideal Home Show with clever ideas they can try at home and this year the focus has been on making Britain's front gardens green again, in line with David Domoney's work on the Cultivation Street Community Gardening campaign.
The annual awards, which are organised by TV gardener David Domoney in association with the Prince's Foundation for Building Community, offer students a great opportunity to showcase their work and celebrate the best of sustainable British gardening. The competition, now in its seventh year, has given over 500 students the opportunity to create show gardens before they even leave the college gates.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has voiced his support for the competing colleges, saying: "This competition is a great opportunity for talented young people to use their ’green fingers’ to design a garden thousands of visitors will enjoy. 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 and I wish all entrants the best of luck in creating the best sustainable garden.”
The winning garden showed homeowners all that can be achieved with a front garden, giving pleasure to those visiting the house and also brightening up the local community. It created a walkway which takes visitors away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, providing a beautiful, stress-free environment before they even walk through the door.
The annual competition, in association with the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community, celebrates young ‘green’ talent and whittled down entries from seven of the UK’s leading horticultural colleges who then went head-to-head to create a show stopping sustainable garden that was seen by a quarter of a million visitors at the Ideal Home Show. 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.
The 2017 participating colleges included:
Chichester college, Sussex (2012, 2013 & 2014 Champions)
Capel Manor, Middlesex (2011 Champions)
Askham Bryan College, North Yorkshire (2016 Champions)
Pershore College, Part of the Warwickshire College Group
Shuttleworth College, Bedfordshire
Writtle University College, Essex (2015 & 2017 Champions)
A judging panel led by Simon Sadinsky, head of education at The Prince's Foundation, included: Raoul Curtis-Machin, director of horticulture at the Horticultural Trade Association, Andrew Gill, president of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture, Adrienne Wild, grower and garden writer and Tim Jeffries, commercial director at one of the UK's biggest seed producers, Mr Fothergill’s Seeds.