Designers Go Head To Head In Scholarship Battle

Designers Go Head To Head In Scholarship Battle
Twelve budding garden designers, drawn from eleven counties, have made it to the first selection stage of a vocational garden design scheme, now in its second year.

The Chris Beardshaw Mentoring Scholarship, sponsored by Bradstone and supported by the Malvern Spring Gardening Show, has attracted another quality intake of would-be scholars, all in pursuit of a once in a lifetime, tailor-made package of design advice, work experience and business guidance, headed up by the award-winning garden designer and journalist himself.

Not only will they face the challenge of building a show garden for display to some 90,000 visitors at this year’s Malvern Spring Gardening Show (7 – 10 May 2009), but will each have to pitch their case, ‘Dragon’s Den’ style, to a judging panel and in front of a public audience, in the Design For Living Theatre, on First Day.

This year’s scholars come from all over the country; as far apart as Southampton and Newcastle upon Tyne, and from all walks of life; marketing, teaching, finance, architecture, administration and interior design.

They will come together for the first time on February 6 at Malvern, where they will meet Chris and representatives from the sponsor, Bradstone, to discuss their plans for the Spring Gardening Show, and get a feel for what the scholarship is all about.

‘Dance’ is the theme for 2009, and candidates have taken their inspiration from traditional English maypole dancing and nineteenth century music hall, the 70’s ‘Saturday Night Fever’ style disco scene and the Viennese Waltz!

Each of the gardens will be assessed by Malvern’s partner, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), but medals alone will not secure the scholarship. A judging panel made up of Chris, Ian Wright - Head of Marketing for Bradstone, and Head of RHS Shows Development, Bob Sweet, will also be looking for skill, passion, imagination and a real commitment and determination to carve out a career in the tough world of landscape design.

The winner will be announced in the theatre at Malvern the same day, and he or she will follow in the footsteps of 2008 scholar, Lindsay Anglin, from Bristol, who won an RHS Silver medal at last year’s Spring Gardening Show, and working closely with Chris, achieved an RHS Gold for her edible garden at the Malvern Autumn Show in September.

Lindsay, Chris and the scholarship team are now working hard to create a small garden for the Chelsea Flower Show.

Chris Beardshaw has been working in education for more than ten years, and said: “‘ I am passionate about raising the profile and awareness of the landscape design industry and this scheme is completely unique as it brings together key players in the industry who are all working together to fast track one individual.

The year-long 'journey' is aimed at preparing our new scholar for a professional career in landscape design. As much as it’s about design, however, it’s about the commercial aspects of being a garden designer too. Our new scholar will be introduced to the marketing and product development side of the business as well as learning how to get the most out of sponsorships and similar commercial partnerships.”

The Chris Beardshaw Mentoring Scholarship 2009 Candidates

Claire Potter (East Sussex)
‘Dancing With Trees’
 A serene and shaded infant sweet chestnut coppice with five ‘sentinel’ chestnut poles,
each vertically engraved with W.B. Yeats’ poetry. Crab apple standards, opulent woodland planting, recycled glass path and willow ball sculptures. Floating, dancing planting of tiarella, astilbe and aquilegia. Highlights the traditional and declining art of coppicing.

Paul Hervey-Brookes (Gloucestershire)
‘Il Ballo Della Vita Humana’(A Dance to The Music of Time)
Based on the painting by Nicolas Poussin, in which four humans dance in a circle to the music of time. Split into two literal areas; open wild woodlands and a formally laid out garden of four beds (representing the seasons) in parterre style, arranged around a sculpture depicting the human element of the painting. Native ferns, woodland shrubs, nettles, dock and bluebell contrast with more formal box hedging, and heavy planting of tulips, alliums, geranium, dryopteris, sambusca and betula.

Juliet Stafford (Shropshire)
Zen and Japanese tea garden influences are the inspiration behind this modern-day,
ecologically friendly design, created as a harmonious place for relaxation and meditation. And The garden is minimalistic and low maintenance and is planted with acers, phormium, sedum sedum, carex, athurium, hosta and clematis.

Susan Clark (Surrey)
‘They Danced By The Light Of The Moon’
A garden based on the elegance of the Viennese Waltz, with one half representing the  flowing gown of the lady and the other, the suave gentleman’s tie and tails. A planter of Edelweiss, Austria’s national flower, sits beside a black, curved metal bench  (representing the gentleman’s hand tied bowtie). Astelia chathamica ‘Silver Spear is the key  key plant, combined with ajuga, aquilegia, campanula, helichrysum, lavandula,  phlomis, salvia, scabious and tulipa, to name a few.

Samantha Chaplin (Southampton)
‘Post Modern Burlesque Terrace’
Inspired by the burlesque genre, its origins and all its revivals, from nineteenth century music hall, cabaret to strip tease. Sweeps of contemporary pure white walls set against  warm planting, with stainless steel and chrome providing the ‘bling’. Trumpets
(cardiocrinum giganteum), a fanfare of white heart lockets (dicentra spectabilis Alba),
Pompoms (viburnum macrophyllum), fringes and ruffles (tulipa) and feathery plumage
(matteuccia struthiopteris) come together for a real show!

Francesca Cleary (East Sussex)
‘Beltaine Garden’
A garden inspired by the Beltaine celebration of the arrival of summer, with pagan overtones and plants selected for their magical and mystical properties. Features a stone-edged fire pit, a sunken seating area a chamomile topped seat, a rill and a sculpture.
Plants associated with the Beltaine Sabbath are the mainstay: angelica, bluebell, clover, cowslips, daisy, hawthorn, meadowsweet, sorrel, rowan and sweet woodruff.

Peter Biggs (Wiltshire)
‘Rhythm and Passion’
A small, yet versatile, enclosed back garden with unusual plants, and inspired by dance as an art form. A central raised deck feels like a dance podium or stage, and three beutulas give vertical height and some graceful movement, with the play of light on their
white bark. Dramatic plants give a splash of colour, and planting includes ensete ventricosum, foeniculum vulgare, myrtus, nepeta, sarcococca and verbascum.

Victoria Trask (Herefordshire)
‘The Maypole Garden’
Inspired by English cottage garden style with features from the countryside, old village life and traditional folk dancing. ‘The Green’ has a maypole at its centre, with its brightly coloured ribbons radiating out. An obelisk and topiary dotted in the flower borders represent the villagers watching the dance. Planting consists of apple trees, ilex, magnolia, viburnum, alchemilla mollis, roses, primulas, geraniums, rosemary, thyme, veronica and honeysuckle, among others.

Helen Jacobs (Worcestershire)
‘View From The Circle’
This garden is designed to recall all the colour, excitement and spectacle of a show dance chorus. Planted around two sandstone circles; the smaller linked to the larger by a gradually rising, curved pathway, from the top of which the main planting can be viewed as a theatrical spectacle. Bronzy, green and burnt orange flowers and foliage are interspersed with snaking gravel trails. Perennials and grasses move in the wind, glitter in the sunshine and glisten in the rain.

Elaine Rolfe (Llanover, Abervagenny)
‘Night Fever’
A fun garden, based on the 70’s disco theme. By day, it’s a practical eating area surrounded by grey/silver leaved plants with alliums and man-made spheres punctuating the spaces, and two black reflecting pools for calm. At night, the central dance floor is illuminated with rope lighting for party time! Planting includes Artemisia, cynara cardunculus, euphorbia, festuca, santolina, senecio and pittosporum.

Theresa Ram (Shropshire)
‘A Little Piece of Theatre’
A garden designed for a newly-retired couple who have enjoyed a successful stage career in dance. The enclosed garden will reference their professional life on the stage. The planting includes betula, taxus, cephalaria, linaria, iris, mathiasella, tellima, trillium, viola, camassia and fritillaria.

Ann Purdie (Newcastle Upon Tyne)
‘Moon Dance’
A garden based on the spiritual and physical influences of the moon on the human psyche, and its inextricable link to the natural world. It is a spiralled garden based on a whorl of Fibonacci curves. The Moon is choreographer affecting the bio-rhythms, cycles and movements that breathe life into the garden. Features a rill with inky water, turf-topped hurdles and a pale ‘moon’ behind a wicker boundary. Plants are mainly white, and foliage is pale – visible by the light of the moon.

Applications are now invited for the Scholarship 2010.

Readers interested in applying should go to or call Nina Acton on 01684 584919.
Sculptures | Garden Design in Suffolk | All Part of My Website Ltd.