Joy as Chichester gardeners take gold at show

Prince Charles and David Domoney at Ideal Home Show
Prince Charles and David Domoney at Ideal Home Show

A Chichester College lecturer couldn’t fight back his tears of joy after his students were presented with a prestigious gardening award by Prince Charles.

The team, all studying horticulture and agriculture, won Best At Show in the Young Gardeners of Year competition at the Ideal Home Show, London’s Earls Court, last Friday; they were also given a gold award for their garden entry.

The students’ lecturer, Mark Howard, of Southbourne, was so thrilled they had won that he burst into tears.

“They have all worked so hard and it has been an unbelievable effort by the whole team. There were a few tears from me but that is because I am so proud of them all,” said Mr Howard.

Prince Charles was given a guided tour of their garden entry by student Lucy Judd, 19, from Chichester. Lucy, who helped design the entry which showcased traditional landcraft skills and was inspired by the South Downs, said she was terrified to meet the royal.

“It was pretty frightening but he was lovely. He wanted to sit in the turf chair that we had made,” she said.

Prince Charles said he was hugely impressed by the quality of all the entries but particularly the winners from Chichester. He said: “They have all done really well and I am so pleased that a new generation of gardeners are showcasing timeless traditional landcraft skills such as dry stone walling. We don’t want them to die out.”

Lucy was part of a team doing the Horticulture Diploma Course (Level 3) at the college’s Brinsbury Campus in Pulborough. Also part of that team were Craig Hill, Joss Del-Smith and Kim Stearn. Their garden entry took Kim’s idea of the rough with the smooth; unity, harmony and balance. This was demonstrated by Lucy and Joss’s smooth curves flowing throughout the garden and a variety of recycled materials inspired by Craig.

The garden incorporated a flint wall, as prehistoric flint artefacts have been found on campus. It also had a fire pit made from a recycled oil drum, courtesy of the blacksmiths at the college. Natural, sustainable materials were used to promote harmony with nature, alongside land craft techniques, such as willow weaving and the building of the flint wall.

The competition was organised by TV gardener David Domoney.