Top awards at the BBC Gardeners’ World Spring Fair

Posted  29.04.2023
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BBC TV gardening presenter, Frances Tophill, has presented awards to design teams and horticulture students behind some show-stopping gardens and displays at the BBC Gardeners’ World Spring Fair.

Winner of the Spring Fair’s Best Showcase Garden and a Platinum Award was Nordic Retreat by The Landscape Service, based in Southampton. Designed by Luke Mills, the stylish, minimalist garden is designed to offer a calming space to relax, unwind and rejuvenate, providing temporary respite from the urban environment. It features neutral colours, planting features to create dappled shade, and natural hard landscaping materials.

Assessors were multi award-winning garden designers and horticultural experts, Robin Templar Williams, Lucy Bravington and Professor David Stevens.

Chair of assessors, Robin Templar Williams, said: “The Landscape Service have designed the perfect Nordic retreat, with a hue of greens and Pine as one of its principal species. With less than three days to build a fully functioning garden, we were impressed with the authenticity and quality of the garden which included a space for yoga on the deck.”

Winner Luke Mills, Director of The Landscape Service, said: “The Nordic Retreat is our first show garden so I couldn’t be happier to have won this award. Inspired by my Nordic heritage, I wanted the garden to have a therapeutic effect, providing calm and respite from busy life. It’s been a real team effort by gardeners, landscapers, suppliers and sponsors, and I’m over the moon.”

Best Beautiful Border and Platinum Award winner was ‘Not all those who wander are lost’ by Furzey Gardens and Minstead Trust who provide training and work experience for people with learning disabilities. The Border was inspired by a poem from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring, and features plants grown at Furzey Gardens, a stepping stone path, and a grand chair carved from the trunk of an old Elm tree.

The Beautiful Borders competition is a highlight at all BBC Gardeners’ World Events and is designed to provide achievable inspiration for smaller gardens and tricky spaces. Entrants take on the challenge of packing compact 9m2 plots with imaginative planting and creative design features. This year’s theme is ‘My Garden Escape’. Spring Fair award assessors for the Beautiful Borders were Ian Hodgson, editor of Garden News, and acclaimed Hampshire garden designers, Anita Foy from Anita Foy Garden Design, and Richard Barnard from Kings Oak Landscapes.

Andrew Bentley, Estates Manager at Minstead Trust, said: “We are delighted for all the people that we support that have worked so hard to create this garden. It has created a real sense of purpose and shows what people with learning disabilities can achieve when they have support and encouragement.”

The Spring Fair’s first ever inter-horticultural college competition was won by students from Kingston Maurward College in Dorset. The college team won Best College Garden and a Platinum Award for A Wardian Garden, a design inspired by the college’s Victorian heritage. Colleges were tasked with designing budget-friendly gardens with a Victorian Garden theme. All the college teams were mentored by award-winning garden designer, Cherry Carmen.

Show Assessor Richard Barnard said: “From under the garden’s charismatic structure, there is an exuberance of detailed horticultural gems, from a terrarium to recently propagated plants in the semi-shade. Typically, the Victorian era saw those dedicated to discovering a new chapter of plants and the story has been ably reproduced by an enthusiastic group of students. We were impressed by the quality of large outdoor plant specimens which were easily matched by the tiny attention to detail of recycled and upcycled plant containers, hiding under shelves.”

Alison Firth, a Level 3 Horticulture student at Kingston Maurward College, is the designer of the garden. She said: “This garden has brought students together from across the college’s horticultural courses. They’ve done the research, sourced materials and built the garden, all with the support of our tutors. It’s just incredible to have won.”

Reviewing all Award entries at the Spring Fair, BBC TV gardening presenter Frances Tophill, said: “I’m hugely impressed with the talent involved and the hard work that has gone into creating these wonderful gardens and displays, with every award richly deserved. I have no doubt that they will inspire thousands of people over the Spring Fair weekend to try something new or different in their garden, veg patch or window box. Whether you’re new to gardening or a green-fingered expert, it’s a great time of year to make garden plans for the summer ahead. The BBC Gardeners’ World Spring Fair really is the perfect place for ideas to blossom and grow.”

Headline Fair partner, Hillier, have created a spectacular garden feature, which is proving a hit with visitors. The Secret Garden is Hillier’s first ever walkthrough garden at the Fair, with high hedges enclosing a riot of colourful planting that transports visitors from daybreak to sunset. The Secret Garden features exciting new flowering and foliage plants that are exclusive to Hillier and available to buy at the show: the Erysimum ‘Colour Vibe’ collection; Lavandula x intermedia ‘Exceptional’; Cordyline ‘Magic Star’; and Dicentra ‘Amore Titanium’.

Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, said: “Whilst Beaulieu is best known as the home of the National Motor Museum, I am always keen that visitors enjoy everything the attraction has to offer, including the gardens. It follows that I am more than delighted to be hosting the BBC Gardeners’ World Spring Fair at Beaulieu, an event which is growing by the year, as every good plant should! I am particularly looking forward to meeting some of the experts who’ll be at this year’s show and seeing the display gardens which impressed me so much last year.”

For more information on the BBC Gardeners’ World Spring Fair, click here.

Categories:  Beaulieu Events