Held at the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) Flower Show Tatton Park (18 – 22 July), supported by Bruntwood, the popular RHS Young Designer Competition will provide more opportunity for budding young talent than ever before by extending its shortlist of finalists from three to five in celebration of its 10 year anniversary.
The competition gives new and experienced designers aged 28 and under the unique opportunity to launch their careers and gain exposure at a prestigious RHS Flower Show, while competing for the coveted title. Over the past decade it has been instrumental in kick-starting the careers of many successful designers, a number of whom will return to share their career stories so far at this year’s Show.
Inspired by the benefits of gardening and the solace of being outdoors and reconnecting with nature in an increasingly stressful and urbanised world, this year’s finalists have been selected to design a Show Garden encapsulating what a ‘feel good’ garden means to them.
Eds Higgins, 28 from Nottinghamshire, has created Finding [urban] Nature celebrating the hidden charm to be found in wasteland sites. Motivated by a specific site in central Nottingham, which transformed into a gorgeous field of flowers in summer and has now sadly been turned into a car park, his design aims to challenge how these sites are viewed and demonstrate how a little joy can be injected into unloved and undervalued spaces.
At One, a contemporary design by London based 22-year-old Will Williams shows how we can live alongside nature in a practical and comfortable way by incorporating homes for wildlife alongside our own. By carefully selecting plants that appeal to bees and butterflies, the garden hopes to inspire visitors to implement these take home elements themselves to create spaces for us all to live and thrive.
Nicola Oakey, 28 from Lincolnshire, has created a garden built around her childhood memories of countless happy hours spent with her feet in wellies and her hands plunged into the cold waters of Devon. Capturing the gentle sounds of water and the soft rustle of reed-like grasses, her design Raised by Rivers is a pure celebration of the calm, clarity and comfort that water provides.
24 -year-old Nottinghamshire based, Jimmy McAdam’s Born to Bee Wild garden centres on the concept of the beehive and the ability of this natural creation to promote life and become a hive of activity. The garden aims to harnesses the beauty and potential of nature when left undisturbed, creating a space to simply sit and observe its joys without interference.
Our fifth and final designer, Max Harriman, 26 from London creates Calm in Chaos, with a space to escape the stresses of urban living. Every element of the garden has been carefully considered to create the feeling of being transported away from city strains and escape to a tranquil, slower paced way of life. From its meandering path to its muted, calm planting, everything about the design is intended to maximise the benefits of time spent within this relaxing green space.
RHS Flower Show Tatton Park, which celebrates its own milestone of 20 years in 2018, has cemented itself as a pioneer of new talent, with previous RHS Young Designer finalists going on to create gardens at the world famous RHS Chelsea Flower Show and other recognised horticultural platforms. This year, 2013 RHS Young Designer winner Tony Woods will make his debut at RHS Chelsea with a garden for Thames Water in the all new ‘Space to Grow’ category, while 2015 finalist Kate Saville and 2015 winner Tamara Bridge return to the show with a gin-inspired Artisan Garden, following the success of their BBC Radio 2 ‘Feel Good Garden’ last year.
Award-winning designer Paul Hervey-Brookes, who has mentored the competition since 2013 said: “The RHS Young Designer competition offers a vital and exciting platform for young people in horticulture. During my time as mentor I have seen many promising young designers flourish and go on to peruse successful careers, and I’m delighted to continue to offer support and advice for this very special anniversary year.”
RHS Flower Show Tatton Park will run from 18 – 22 July. Tickets can be bought at www.rhs.org.uk/tatton