Young gardeners of the year 2016

By The Secret Gardener

The Ideal Home Show Young Gardeners of the Year competition is back for its sixth year. The annual awards see six of the UK's top horticultural colleges go head to head to design and build show gardens – in just six days!

The competition was created by TV Gardener David Domoney to champion young green talent by giving students the opportunity to design show gardens.

Each college is given a 5 x 4.5m plot and a design brief to create a sustainable urban garden. It can be in any style, but must inspire visitors to show all that can be achieved in small spaces.

This year, the gardens should also have an educational focus, giving visitors a chance to reconnect with nature and learn about gardens, plants and the environment. This is thanks to the competition’s association with the Prince's Foundation for Building Community.

The six inspiring show gardens will be revealed at the Ideal Home Show at Olympia, London on 18 March. A panel of experts across the horticultural, design and media industries will judge the designs and award bronze, silver and gold medals.

The judges will also choose one garden to win the Best at Show award – and the students will be crowned the Ideal Young Gardeners of the Year 2016!

Then the gardens are displayed throughout the duration of the ideal Home Show and seen by a quarter of a million visitors! The public can also vote for their favourite garden to win the final award: the People's Choice.


Askham Bryan College, North Yorkshire
Students are designing a contemporary woodland garden using rustic timber fencing. The fence will have the names of tree species carved into the bark to showcase different types of wood.

The garden will also feature traditional stone walling and woodland planting with evergreen structure. Colour will come from the subtle pastel shades and spring flowering plants like muscari and hellebores.


Capel Manor College, Middlesex

This garden will be a tropical wellbeing yoga retreat garden filled with lush greenery and secluded spots for relaxation.

The planting will be rich and leafy, including tree ferns and yellow-stemmed bamboo. The garden will also showcase unusual tropical varieties like tillandsia or air plants – these have no roots and absorb moisture and nutrients from the air.


Chichester College, Sussex
Chichester College's garden is designed around a geometric theme, making use of shapes. It will be built around a central dome and feature a spiral patio and octagonal paving.

The garden will also have structural planting from the evergreen varieties like bay trees and cryptomeria that will be clipped into spheres. Flowering varieties in purple and white will add a splash of colour.

Pershore College, part of the Warwickshire College Group
Students from Pershore will create a garden inspired by the Fibonacci sequence and the 'curve of life'.

They have chosen plants that have intricate foliage like ferns and fatsia japonica. They will also create a spiral green wall feature using sempervivums, which demonstrate the Fibonacci sequence with their leaf structure.

The garden also aims to educate visitors by bearing QR codes on the plant labels. These can be scanned by a smartphone and direct visitors to an online plant catalogue containing information about the plants.


Shuttleworth College, Bedfordshire
This design in inspired by the gardens of Marrakech and features rich blue hues, tiled furnishings and lighting from lamps. It is set out as a Chahar Bagh – a Persian style that sees the space divided into four parts by a water rill filled with pebbles.

The planting has a Mediterranean theme, including yucca, agave and olive trees. It will also feature edible and herbal varieties, including Moroccan mint for refreshing mint tea!


Writtle College, Essex
Students from Writtle College are creating a basement garden retreat. The green roof will be covered in meadow grass and feature two striking magnolia trees. The paving is inter-planted with sedum matting, ferns and thyme.

The garden is also exploring a new technique in producing electricity from plants in a green wall. Energy is harvested from water-nutrient exchange in plant roots through the use of a carbon fibre mat. It could one day power lighting and outdoor features.

Come and see the stunning show gardens at the Ideal Home Show at Olympia, London from 18 March – 3 April 2016.




Meet the author

The Secret Gardener

The Secret Gardener is an award-winning landscaper, specialising in bringing colour and ambience to any space.

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