Inchbald School of Garden Design student secures place at Chelsea

A garden design featuring a giant window box filled with bamboos, grasses, ferns and peonies helped a former Inchbald School of Garden Design student clinch a spot at RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

The Dalerush Workshop furniture company teamed up with the garden design school to run a competition for a student to create the surroundings for its Chelsea stand.

The winner, Amanda Shipman, graduated from Inchbald in 2008 with a distinction after completing work placements with Diarmuid Gavin and US landscape architect Martha Schwartz.

Shipman had planned to create a conceptual garden at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show last year, but her plans fell through. "I am really delighted because exhibiting at Chelsea is a dream for any designer," she explained.

Despite having always harboured a keen passion for garden design, Shipman only began to pursue a career in the field in 1998 after a successful career in television. She decided to study formally at Inchbald to extend her skills. In 2008, Shipman won the Anthony Paul Garden Design Award.

The garden she has designed for Dalerush includes brightly coloured walls to create a showcase for the furniture, as well as several large Styrax japonicus trees underplanted with plants including Paeonia 'Jan van Leeuwen', Asarum europaeum, Fargesia murieliae and Asplenium scolopendrium.

Dalerush owner Michael Parmar helped to judge the competition, along with RHS Chelsea show manager Alex Baulkwill and Inchbald director Andrew Duff. "All the designers showed a lot of enthusiasm," Parmar explained.

Shipman's garden was up against seven designs from current and former students. Other ideas for the stand included vertical vegetable growing, evergreen planting, spaces created specifically for birds and one entry with a 100% oak concept.

The latter featured oak planting, banks of oak seeds in vertical planters and a mulch of acorns, bark and oak leaves.

"We spent quite some time thinking about who we wanted," added Parmar. "But in terms of boldness of statement, Shipman's design really stood out."

The runner-up in the design competition was Joanna Archer, who created a garden with a focus on 2010 as the UN's international year of biodiversity.


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