Horticulture students in Essex are hoping to repeat their national triumph for a second year.
The Writtle College team won the major prizes at the Young Gardeners of the Year Show in 2015. This week they attended the launch of the 2016 show, and were raring to go.
This year’s competition – which saw the Writtle team win Best in Show, the gold medal, and the People’s Choice award in 2015 – once again sees six of the UK’s leading horticultural colleges go head-to-head. Each team has to design and build a sustainable urban garden as part of the Ideal Home Show.
The Writtle team, which included lecturers Ben Wincott and Simon Watkins, went to the launch at the Ideal Home Show Christmas at Olympia, London.
Ben and Simon hope that the success of the Essex team will encourage more school leavers and other young people to make a choice of career in the land-based industries.
Ben said: “We have an excellent and enthusiastic team of students again this year who are really looking forward to the competition and once again plan to make good Writtle’s claim to be one of the UK’s leading centres for horticulture training.
“The competition offers a brilliant way for students to gain top-level experience. Designing and building a show garden tests their skills to the maximum.”
Run in association with TV Gardener David Domoney, and the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community, the annual competition to celebrate young talent is now in its sixth year.
The gardens created by the young teams will be seen by a quarter of a million visitors at the Ideal Home Show in March.
The Prince’s Foundation has joined with the competing colleges to provide a focus on education and the opportunities available for rewarding careers in the horticultural sector.
With this in mind, the Prince’s Foundation has tasked the young gardeners with incorporating elements of an educational garden into the design.
Simon Sadinsky, the Prince’s Foundation’s head of education, said: “This year, our vision is to see gardens that are not only visually appealing, but that can also act as a source of learning on issues, such as health and nutrition, sustainability, and biodiversity.
“The contest gives young gardeners the chance to contribute to the creation of beautiful, sustainable places.”
The show gardens will be judged by an expert panel, including horticultural industry leaders, home and garden magazine editors and top garden designers.
The overall winner will receive the Best in Show award and be crowned the Young Gardeners of the Year 2016. Visitors to the gardens will be able to vote for their favourite to win the People’s Choice Award.
Each college will be given a 5.5m by 4m plot to both plan and design a garden that will demonstrate an understanding of harmony and sustainability.
It should also use clever plant combinations and inspire visitors with ideas that they can try the same at home in limited space.