Charity flags potential lifeline

Perennial's win at Gardening Scotland highlights help on offer for professional horticulturists.

Best in show: Gardening Scotland award won by charity Perennial
Best in show: Gardening Scotland award won by charity Perennial

Horticulture industry charity Perennial won gold and best in show at Gardening Scotland for its show garden designed by husband-and-wife team Amber Goudy and Martin Crowley.

Crowley was helped by the charity, which is celebrating its 175th anniversary this year, when facing a health crisis. The garden, representing a shattered life being healed, was inspired by personal experience.

When Crowley was struck down by a rare auto-immune disease, he was signed off work for three years. His landscaping business went under but his mother came across Perennial's stand at Gardening Scotland a few years ago and found help.

Crowley said: "When I became ill it never occurred to me that I would get more than two or three days' sick pay. The Perennial caseworker was amazing. She helped sort out the benefits that I was entitled to. Without her help, we would have been destitute."

Goudy's garden design was inspired by the arum lily that forms Perennial's logo. The charity's new chairman is Gardening Scotland sponsor Dougal Philip of New Hopetoun Gardens.

Responding to the widely reported suicide of 20-year-old landscape gardener Martin Hadfield earlier this year, who failed to find work after being made redundant, Perennial chief executive Richard Capewell said: "I am saddened that he did not feel able to turn to anyone for help and feel sure that had we known we could have thrown him a lifeline, as we do in many other cases."

Award winners

- Best floral exhibit and people's choice award: Beautiful Fife - 50 Years in Bloom

- Best new floral exhibitor: Westbank Enterprises

- Best new plant: Streptocarpus 'Bella' (Dibleys Nurseries)

- People's choice show garden: The Lost Gardeners of the Great War (supported by Poppy Scotland and Erskine - Ivy Maud Design/West of Scotland Dry Stone Walling Association)

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