Sustainability Concept Design

Writtle University College’s team for the Young Gardeners of the Year competition has unveiled its design.
The annual competition, which Writtle won last year, along with a Gold Medal, is organised by celebrity gardener David Domoney and gives students invaluable experience of designing and building a show garden. Delivered in association with The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community, this year’s competition is at the new Ascot Spring Garden Show in April.
The Writtle University team of nine Further Education students – guided by Lecturer Ben Wincott – has designed a garden based around a ‘floating’ decking platform anchored by a full-sized tree.
James Durham, from Hertfordshire, said: “The main concept of our garden is sustainability. We hope that our garden will be an oasis in the middle of the urban desert, giving the homeowner somewhere to get away from it all – a space that brings them closer to nature and wildlife in the heart of the city.”
The entrance to the garden is lowered and filled with harvested rain water, over which are porcelain stepping stones, lined by the sculptural and dramatic plant equisetum. The aim is to create movement, reflections and a natural element in the small 5m by 4.5m space. The team has suggested a pump system could take this water to irrigate the garden.
Steps lead to a decking area made from recycled plastic raised on stilts, which gives the illusion of floating among the plants. Through this, the full-sized tree provides a natural shelter and intimacy. The planting will be predominantly dense thick grasses, and perennials referencing HRH The Queen’s colours of purple and gold as the Show is delivered in association with Ascot’s Crown Estate neighbours at Windsor Great Park.
Student Grace Fairbrace, from Chelmsford, said: “This is a really exciting project which gives us the opportunity to develop our design and build skills at a high-profile event. We’re really looking forward to it!”
The teams will have five days to build and plant their gardens in the Garden Terrace on the Grandstand of Ascot Racecourse, ready for the Show’s opening day on 13 April 2018.