Growing for Gold

Tuesday 14 March 2017

Yet again Shuttleworth College has a team short-listed in the annual Ideal Home Show ‘Young Gardeners of the Year’ competition.

Having won praise previously, the team have their sights set on ‘growing for gold’ at the 2017 event.

The annual competition, now in its seventh year, is organised by TV gardener David Domoney in association with the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community and celebrates young ‘green’ talent. It 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 show.

David briefed the participating colleges on the objectives of the competition and provided handy hints and tips. There was also a presentation from Simon Sadinsky, Head of Education at the Prince's Foundation for Building Community, outlining principles and brief for this year’s show. 

The Prince’s Foundation sets clear guidelines based on organic and sustainable principles and the importance of front gardens. 

This year there is a new focus: front gardens  

The Young Gardeners are tasked with creating a show garden that will capture the imagination and inspire the judges and visitors, with clever plant association.

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.”

This year’s Show Gardens will be judged by an expert panel, which includes horticultural industry leaders, home and garden magazine editors and acclaimed garden designers. Entrants will compete to win the gold, silver gilt, silver or bronze award. The overall winner will receive the Best in Show award, and visitors will be able to vote for the winner of the People’s Choice Award. These annual awards offer students a great opportunity to showcase their work and celebrate the best of British young talent in garden design and build.  Each college will be given a 5.5m x 4.0m plot. This front garden must be a focal point and inspire homeowners and passers-by on just what can be achieved in front of a home. The garden should appeal to the homeowner’s senses. The colours and design should offer a spectacular welcome when they come home and aim to brighten up the neighbourhood. Careful consideration of the door, and access to the front door, should be included in the design. The show gardens will inspire visitors by utilising clever planting, and the garden style can be traditional or contemporary. 

The gardens will inspire city dwellers, showing all that can be achieved in urban locations. Creating a sense of tranquillity and sustainability for the home owner; it should act as an escape from the pressures of inner city life and bring a touch of nature to the heart of the metropolis.

David Domoney said: “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 have five days to build and plant their garden inside Kensington Olympia, ready for the Ideal Home Show opening day on 24 March 2016.  

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

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

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