Skills Funding Agency – News – Success stories – Colleges Bloom at International Flower Show

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Success stories

Colleges Bloom at International Flower Show

Further education colleges from Hampshire, Essex and London entered the prestigious RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year to showcase their expertise and skills in horticulture.

The combination of beauty and functionality won Sparsholt College a gold medal for its Space Race themed garden, which was also awarded Best Exhibit in the new RHS Environment section of the Great Pavilion. Designed and created by a team of 10 Extended Diploma Horticulture students, led by lecturer Chris Bird, the garden showcased a number of techniques to optimise urban space in a productive, wildlife friendly and attractive space.

Writtle College scooped a silver award for its garden entitled ‘Green Spaces: Growing Your Own in Small Spaces’. Aimed at urban city dwellers, the exhibit shows how people can grow plants in small spaces, such as growing herbs in recycled plastic bottles. Students aged from 16-61 were involved with the project and this year’s designer, horticulture lecturer Simon Watkins, said: “This year we are demonstrating the possibilities of growing your own food in the tiniest of places, including bottle tops and old rice bags.”

Capel Manor College also won silver for its ‘Mad about Meadows’ exhibit designed by tutor Philippa O’Brien, with the help of staff and students. The exhibit demonstrates how the simple concept of meadows can be environmentally beneficial, reducing the likelihood of flooding, beautifying urban areas and creating biodiversity by preserving pollinators such as birds, bees and butterflies. The College is part of the ‘London in Bloom’ project, who were inspired by the creation of wildflower meadows within the Olympic Park and are now engaging London Boroughs to create meadows across the capital.

Skills Funding Agency Chief Executive, Geoff Russell, said: “I am immensely proud of the achievement of all three colleges. It is great to see the high level of skills and success achieved at this world class event, a testament to the hard work of the students and staff and to the standard of skills available in further education.”

For more information on a career or courses in agriculture, horticulture, landscaping and floristry (and others) visit the National Careers Service.

Photo: Sparsholt College’s Space Race themed garden
L-R Chris Bird, lecturer in Horticulture; Jack Stanford, Extended Diploma in Horticulture student; and Scott Perkins, Extended Diploma in Horticulture student.

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