Brinsbury horticulture students among best in Britain

March 30, 2017

Horticulture students from Chichester College have won a Silver Gilt medal at the 2017 Young Gardener of the Year competition.

The students, who are based at the college’s Brinsbury campus, were competing against five other horticulture colleges to design and build urban front gardens at this year’s Ideal Home Show.

The Chichester team was made up of four students – Gabbie Simpson, Shannon Fitzgerald, Millie Nicholson (who produced the design) and James Hagan – and they were joined by Dr Steve Millam, Head of Learning for Horticulture.

They were asked to create gardens which would inspire home owners on what can be achieved at the front of the house and were given 140 litre wheelie bins, which had to be hidden within the garden.

The Chichester College garden was based on sustainability and nature, providing habitats for insects and animals that often see their homes destroyed when front gardens are replaced with driveways.

The materials were sourced locally and from the college’s own campus, recycling and reusing resources which may otherwise have been thrown away.

James, who – along with Shannon – was one of the team’s project managers, said: “The garden is natural and sustainable, which was really important to us.

“The timber and paving were both up-cycled, which helped to keep costs down.”

Gabbie added: “The hardest part of the build was the woodwork construction, which we did ourselves – and we even made the hedgehog hole using a drill and chisel, which wasn’t easy.”

Steve Millam explained that the garden was designed as an urban transition zone, as a contrast to busy city life.

He said: “It was unique among those on show as it focussed on wildlife with several different habitats within the design including hedges, a pond, vertical gardens and stone surfaces.

“It also has a trail of aromatic and herb plants up the path, which could be collected and used as an antidote to a busy day in the city.

“The team have done a fantastic job and I know they have won lots of admirers for their determination, work ethic and range of skills.”

The garden is currently on show at the Ideal Home Show at Olympia London, which runs until Sunday 9 April. Visitors to the show can also vote for their favourite garden in the People’s Choice Category, which Chichester won last year.

Shelagh Legrave OBE, Chichester College Principal, said: “I am extremely proud of the team from Brinsbury for their success.

“The garden they have created is beautiful, and they have paid close attention to detail.

“I think anyone would be delighted to walk out of the front door and into the oasis that they have designed.

“The other colleges all had teams that were at least twice the size, which makes their achievement of a Silver-Gilt medal all the more impressive.”