Following a gruelling 22-hour battle to build the best garden and win the chance to represent the UK at an international contest in Canada, teams from Otley College and Chichester College were rewarded for their efforts.
The teams had to work away under the eyes of visitors to the show over the course of three days before the winners of the World Skills Landscape Gardening Competition, run in association with BALI, were announced today.
BALI’s landscape technical director for the competition Peter Killen said Sturgeon had been briefed to produce a tricky design.
“This has been the toughest garden to build of any final we’ve had so far,” explained Killen.
“Andy Sturgeon had been briefed to design it to challenge them a bit more and he came up trumps with that.
“It depended on inter-connecting between the various areas such as the pond, the decking, the wall and the fence.”
Suffolk-based Otley College’s team Simon Ginger and William Gadd shared the honour with Dave Kelly and Matt Smith, from Chichester College, West Sussex.
They competed against Tom Moore and Tom Charge, from Moulton College, Northampton, and Luke Denby and Andy Brier, from Craven College, North Yorkshire.
Ginger said: “It was a challenging design for us because it incorporated water and an overhanging deck so we are really pleased to have won.”
The teams’ gardens were scrutinised by Landform Consultants’ managing director Mark Gregory, as well as representatives from television show Rogue Traders, Plumpton College, and World Skills.
Gregory, who is now appearing on Channel 5 television show I Own Britain’s Best Home and Garden, said: “Standards in parts are very good. It is a very technical piece of work.
“It’s important our next generation actually have contacts with contractors and the industry. We say what we want from colleges but what are we prepared to give back?
“Getting sponsorship for material [for the competition] was difficult for instance. So we shouldn’t whinge at colleges if they don’t give us what we want.”
The winners will now go on to take part in a landscaping ‘boot camp’ that will prepare them to compete against other landscape gardeners from around the world in the World Skills Competition next year in Calgary, Canada.