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Winners of RHS & BBC competition create gardens at show

See the amateur garden designers that made their show debut at Chatsworth

Planting in front of Chatsworth House
The winners of the RHS and BBC garden design competition brought their designs to life at RHS Chatsworth Flower Show (5-9 June 2019).
The competition, which was launched in January on BBC Radio Sheffield, Stoke and Derby, saw amateur gardeners and aspiring garden designers from each of the three BBC Radio regions submit a garden design for a small space, taking inspiration from the local area.

The following three designs were announced as winners:

BBC Radio Derby’s Haydn Vernon – The Brewery Garden

The Brewery Garden

Burton upon Trent is world-renowned for its brewing history. Haydn’s garden included a range of features that celebrated the town’s famous industrial heritage.

Water was a key feature in the garden, reflecting how Burton upon Trent's water quality helped make it into a prosperous, beer-brewing community. A strip of water cut through the garden representing the River Trent, which provided important transport links for ships.
A sail-canvas roof over a bar area gave a nod to the sailing ships that transported the locally-brewed beer across the North Sea. 
Other elements of the garden reflected typical features found in many breweries. Barrels were included for seating and planting while railway sleepers lined the garden's boundary and represented the town’s unique internal railway system that solely served the breweries.

Plants and trees, predominantly grasses and willows, represented the Trent Washlands.

BBC Radio Sheffield’s Emily Barnes – Elements of Sheffield

Elements of Sheffield

‘Elements of Sheffield’ celebrated the connection between the city and the bordering Peak District. Historically, the Peaks provided raw elements of iron-ore, gritstone and water that were harnessed to power the steel industry. Today they offer natural beauty, recreation and escape from the pressures of modern life. 

A patio area resembled Sheffield which, like the city itself, is sunken in the surrounding landscape. Limestone steps lead from the patio up to a raised, calming level that represents the Peak District.

Steel was used throughout the garden to celebrate Sheffield’s steel-making history, while Gritstone boulders found on the moors created a retaining wall. A rock garden and dry stone walls contrasted with paving chosen for strength and durability to symbolise Sheffield’s character.

A mix of pollinator-friendly planting reflected the creative, cultural and diverse population of Sheffield and its surrounding countryside.

BBC Radio Stoke’s Colin and Mary Bielby – An Imagined Miners' Garden

An Imagined Miners Garden

Colin and Mary Bielby joined forces to design a garden that commemorated the Minnie Pit disaster, a coal-mining accident that took place on 12 January 1918 in Halmer End, Staffordshire, in which 155 men and boys died. The disaster, which was caused by an explosion due to firedamp, was the worst ever recorded in the North Staffordshire Coalfield and 2019 marked 100 years since the last body was taken out of the mine in 1919.

The design reimagined the type of garden the miners and families may have cultivated. Planting was selected based on the miners’ imagined needs including herbs for cooking and medicinal use and cut flowers for display in their homes.
Edibles included potatoes, carrots, leek, onions and root crops all used to make the popular local dish ‘Lobby’. A strawberry bed was included to represent the jam sandwiches that many miners took in their ‘snappin’ tins for lunch.
The rear wall was overlaid by silhouettes of miners. The seats, paths and raised beds represent the darkness of the mine, coal and the mood in the village on the fateful morning when the explosion and tremor was felt by the miners’ families. 

At Chatsworth

 "I was extremely impressed by all the entries we received, it was difficult to pick our final three as the quality was so impressive," said Lee Bestall, an award-winning garden designer who helped choose the winners and mentored them through the process.
BBC Local Radio followed the story of the three gardens being built in the run-up to the show and throughout show week.

See the plant list for the gardens

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