Awards presented at the first BBC Gardeners’ World Autumn Fair at Audley End

Local garden designers and landscapers and a Dutch Allium grower were recognised on Friday with the presentation of Awards on the opening day of the BBC Gardeners’ World Autumn Fair. The Fair launched on Friday 2 September at English Heritage’s Audley End House and Gardens, in Saffron Walden, Essex, running until Sunday 4 September.

The Autumn Fair’s Beautiful Borders and Small Space Gardens provide garden and planting inspiration for compact and challenging spaces. The winner of Best Beautiful Border was garden designer Shona Lockheart for her border, We’re All Cuckoo Here, inspired by an old farm near her home town, Colchester. The Platinum award-winning Autumn Fair border was Shona’s debut show garden.

Assessors for the Beautiful Borders were horticultural expert, Bob Sweet, and editor of Garden News, Ian Hodgson.

Bob Sweet said: “We were impressed with the symmetry of Shona’s design. The broad palette of unusual plants and delicate finishing touch made it a brilliant border all round.”

Shona said: “I’m shocked, humbled and overwhelmed to have won this award. I don’t have formal horticultural training but am a very enthusiastic plant lover, and have had so much support and encouragement from nurseries near and far who I’ve called on for plant advice along the way. I call them my ‘plant family’.”

The winner of Best Small Space Garden and Gold award was Val Christman, a designer from Widford in Hertfordshire. Her compact garden, Aspects of Rock, was inspired by Pulhamite, an artificial rock developed by Pulham, an eminent landscaping firm of the Victorian and Edwardian eras, used for plant displays, including those at Audley End. The designer discovered that she was descended to the Pulham family while researching her family history.

Val said: “Winning this award was a lovely surprise, I’m so pleased.”

Assessor Ian Hodgson said: “We were interested to learn of Val’s connections with the Pulham family who were so instrumental in building the Audley End landscape. Val singlehandedly recreated the artificial rock waterfalls which were a hallmark of Audley End, and planted the garden using a palette of plants from the Pulham era.”

The winner of the Association of Professional Landscapers Professional Skills Competition and Platinum award was Gadd Brothers from Bury St Edmunds. Entrants were challenged to put their landscaping skills to the test to build a competition garden by award-winning designer, Kim Parish from Landscapes of Distinction, in just 16 hours.

Steve Smith for the Association of Professional Landscapers said: “Gadd Brothers proved their expertise, carrying out a well thought out plan in which they made strategic decisions about marking out, levels and construction. Across the skills required, from bricklaying, paving and creating a water feature to planting and finishing, Gadd Brothers won by a clear head and deserve their Platinum award.”

Winner of Best Floral Display by exhibiting nurseries and growers was W.S. Warmenhoven, a fifth  generation family business from the Netherlands, for their Allium display.

Assessors were local horticultural expert, Rupert Eley from The Place for Plants, East Bergholt, and BBC Gardeners’ World Live plant expert, Saul Walker.

Rupert Eley said: “Peter and Karen Warmenhoven made their journey from Holland worthwhile by impressing the assessors with a stunning display of Alliums.”

Rachel Poletti-Gadd, Portfolio Director – Gardening Division at Immediate Live, organisers of the BBC Gardeners’ World Autumn Fair, said: “These worthy award winners will have inspired many a gardener visiting the Autumn Fair over the weekend. Our congratulations to them all.”

The BBC Gardeners’ World Autumn Fair, in association with English Heritage, took place at Audley End House and Gardens from Friday 2nd to Sunday 4th September. Highlights included seasonal expertise from the BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine editors, BBC Gardeners’ World TV presenters and special guests, plant expert tours, garden inspiration and floral displays, plants to browse and buy, garden shopping, the BBC Good Food Market and live music.

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