Final three young garden designers picked

The RHS announced the finalists of its inaugural Young Garden Designer of the Year competition at a special event at Chelsea Flower Show where the role of sponsorship was underlined.

The three finalists - Hugo Bugg, Olivia Stewart and William Quarmby - were given a tour of the Chelsea show ground by gold medal winning designer Tom Stuart Smith, RHS shows director Bob Sweet and Laurent Perrier managing director David Hesketh, each of whom underlined the importance of the designer-sponsor relationship.

"It is good to try and work with people with a loose message to get across," Smith warned. "Not people who are trying to sell toilet paper, for example, and have to have things in the shape of fluffy puppies. So Laurent Perrier don't have an input as such in the design process but they do say this is what our company is about to the extent that they take anyone who designs for them out to France to show them what they are about."

Sweet said interest in garden design was "expanding extraordinarily" with around 200 gardens built at RHS shows each year.

He explained: "We want to be able to harness that, but funding is always a huge problem, how do young designers get the funding to build gardens?"

The competition forms part of the RHS' strategy to help develop new design talent, as each of the three finalists has been given a budget of £12,000 to build a garden at the Tatton Park Show.

The national competition attracted around 70 designers under the age of 28, with six shorlisted for interview.

The final three will be judged on their Tatton gardens, with the RHS judging panel picking the winner. The competition is sponsored by the RHS, the North West Development Agency and Laurent Perrier.

The winner will be given the chance to help out on the Laurent Perrier garden at Chelsea 2011.

Extreme outdoors Children's Society designer Mark Gregory celebrated his third successive gold at Chelsea. The garden featured a Wood-Fired Oven.

Useable garden HW blogger Jo Thompson, who won the best urban garden category at Chelsea, said: "This year is much less conceptual."

Bringing the indoors out Indoor Garden Design director Ian Drummond supplied James Wong's Tourism Malaysia Garden.

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