Homebase student makes RHS show debut

Homebase Garden Academy student Nicola Oakey is about to build her first RHS Show garden at BBC Gardener's World Live (11 - 14 June).

Nicola Oakey. Image: Homebase
Nicola Oakey. Image: Homebase
Oakey, who started at the academy in September 2014, successfully submitted a design for the 'Beautiful Borders' category of the show. The design had to be inspired by the industrial heritage of the West Midlands, so Oakey took this opportunity to celebrate the amazing pottery industry that has flourished in the area, notably Spode and Wedgewood.

Oakey said: "I can't wait to bring my design to life. The Garden Academy visits Barnsdale Gardens every month to receive RHS training. It is really inspiring to spend so much time there and really fitting that it is where Geoff Hamilton filmed Gardener's World."

Although just 3x3m, the border will be packed full of exciting planting and many pottery-inspired features. An eye-catching focal point will be three Salix that have been woven into columns reminiscent of the chimneys of bottle-oven kilns. Three bespoke stepping stones made from broken blue and white ceramics will also cross the border.

Oakey's planting scheme is simple and elegant with hints of an English cottage garden. Her border has a blue and white colour scheme; , with bold drifts of herbaceous planting and a carpet of creeping groundcover.

Said Oakey: "Designing and building a beautiful border is a great way to learn about what it takes to build a show garden, without being overwhelmed by the size of the space."

Gardener's World Live attracts over 100,000 visitors and takes place at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham from the 11 - 14 June.

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