RHS and Manchester Evening News launch competition for best ginnel garden

Communities across the North West with inspirational visions of how to transform their ginnel into a beautiful garden could win £1,000 in RHS Vouchers and free entry to this year’s RHS Flower Show Tatton Park 2023.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has joined forces with the Manchester Evening News (MEN) to launch a competition to find residents with the best ideas on how develop their ginnel from being a grey, unloved alleyway into a vibrant green space. 
This year, the RHS has partnered with the MEN to present a Ginnel Garden designed by Jason Williams, the Cloud Gardener, at RHS Flower Show Tatton Park 2023. 
The RHS and MEN Ginnel Garden is being designed and built by Williams, a former RHS Chelsea Flower Show medal winner, working with the local community. The garden, which includes world foods grown to bring the community together, will be relocated to the city’s Moss Side after RHS Tatton Park Flower Show. Williams will mentor the residents for the following year to ensure the garden’s continued success.
Competition winners will receive entry to this year’s show, an hour-long consultation with Williams and a guided tour of his show garden, and £1,000 in RHS vouchers to purchase the materials needed to build their own garden. 
Prospective entrants, whether individual residents, households clubbing together or community groups, are asked to submit a photo or photographs of the space they want to transform, with up to 500 words and/or a two minute film on what their plans are for their ginnel, why they believe they should win, and how they plan to maintain it. 
Jason Williams, The Cloud Gardener said; “The RHS & MEN Ginnel Garden will be brimming full of take home ideas for people with gardens of all sizes.  Hopefully, it will serve as inspiration to unite communities not just in the North West but nationwide.”
The RHS and MEN Ginnel Garden is one of a number of gardens at this year’s show demonstrating how horticultural vision can transform the smallest of spaces.
In the terrace gardens, a judged category, The Balanced Garden by Amy Gunning is designed to be an enjoyable place for both adults to relax and entertain and for children to play and explore, while The Empowerment Garden, by Rachael Bennion and co-designed by service users of the homelessness charity Petrus, showcases how people can be empowered and unified through horticulture. 
Tom Saunders’ The Apothecary demonstrates how anyone can add to their health and wellbeing by using plants grown at home, and Lee Fenn and Samantha Whitehead’s Terrace Garden Retreat creates a space to relax, recharge and reconnect with each other and nature. Meanwhile, Christine Leung’s The Elements Garden combines wood, fire, water and wind to promote a biodiverse area of rest and relaxation for a young couple seeking retreat from city life, and Kenny Raybould’s Flowers for the Neighbours transforms a front garden into a horticultural community hub.
This year, the Long Borders category, in which anyone from students and budding gardeners to established designers design a small-scale horticultural exhibit, also makes its debut at RHS Tatton Park after being brought over from RHS Chatsworth.
With the theme of Sensory, entries include Alison Johnston’s child-friendly Escape the T-Rex!, Pandora Ryan’s Sensing Time, which reconnects people to nature’s own timescales, Sophie Knittel and Lois Moxon-Holt's bold and fun Viva Magenta, and David Cockburn and James Hill’s Forager’s Haven. Sarah Rose Collings’ Plants That Sense Us uses plants which react to external stimuli including sound and touch.
Brickyard, Conal McGuire’s entry in the Slim Spaces category, combines corten steel structures with seating amid plants including acers and edibles to create a tranquil yet practical space.
Lex Falleyn, RHS show manager for Tatton Park, said: “Our aim this year was to broaden the range of gardening exhibits. From gold standard show gardens to bite-sized borders and collaborative community plots: we hope to reflect the many ways in which you can get out and garden.
“We have upped the interactive elements across the whole show ground and all three RHS Feature Gardens are immersive, informative and hopefully inspirational. Last but not least, over 70 per cent of judged exhibits are based in the North West, so there’s no better time to enjoy a day out supporting local talent.”
RHS Flower Show Tatton Park, which is attended by over 80,000 people, takes place from 19-23 July. Tickets can be bought here:

Notes to editors

Further details of the competition, including details on how to enter, are available here:
For interviews or images please contact the RHS Shows Press Office at [email protected]
Press images are available via our sharing site Iris, here. Please note, you’ll need to register for an account if you don’t already have one.
List of Terrace Gardens:
The Elements Garden by Christine Leung
The Apothecary by Tom Saunders
Terrace Garden Retreat by Lee Fenn and Samantha Whitehead
The Balanced Garden by Amy Gunning
The Empowerment Garden by Rachael Bennion and Petrus service users
Flowers for the Neighbours by Kenny Raybould
Slim Spaces Garden:
Brickyard by Conal McGuire
About RHS Flower Show Tatton Park (19 – 23 July 2023):
Wednesday: RHS Members’ Day, 10am – 5pm
Thursday – Saturday: 10am – 5pm
Sunday: 10am – 5pm (sell off of displays begins at 4pm)
To book tickets visit
About the RHS:
The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) was founded in 1804 and is the UK’s largest gardening charity.
The RHS vision is to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place via its inspirational gardens and shows, science research and advisory, extensive library collections and far-reaching education and community programmes. With over 600,000 members the RHS also shares its horticultural knowledge and expertise with millions of people every year through its website and publications.
In 2021, the RHS launched its Sustainability Strategy, committing to be net positive for nature and people by 2030. The supporting RHS Planet-Friendly Gardening Campaign will continue to harness the power of the UK’s 30 million gardeners to help tackle the climate and biodiversity crisis. We are solely funded by our members, visitors and supporters. For more information visit . RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.