Garden Centre to Nurture Talents of Award-Winning Students

By Zena Hawley of the Derby Telegraph

Horticultural students who were part of the gold award-winning team at the Harrogate Flower Show are reaping the rewards of being involved in the project.

The show garden, which reflected a monastic retreat, has now been rebuilt at Trowell Garden Centre, near Stapleford, which was one of the companies sponsoring the Derby College team in their bid for a third gold medal at the annual show.

To find out what plants were used in the garden, click here.

The award-winning garden at Trowell Garden Centre

From left: Trowell Garden Centre operations manager Tania Simpson in the monastic garden created by students Mike Baldwin, Dan Brennen, Steve Williams and Jake Sykes.

The garden centre has now given one of the students – Jake Sykes, 19, of Derby – a part-time job on the back of his efforts at Harrogate.

The company is also promoting the work of self-employed team member Steve Williams, 28, who runs Easy Green Garden Services in Derby. Among the other students, based at the college's campus at Broomfield Hall in Morley, who are set to benefit from having a gold medal in their portfolio is Dan Brennen, 20, who is planning to go on to university to study landscape architecture and eventually setting up his own business.

Tania Simpson, garden centre operations manager, said: "I wish we could have given all the team a job here. I was hugely impressed with the commitment and hard work they showed in constructing the garden at Harrogate and then at Trowell, working long hours to create these fantastic results.

"Jake and Steve particularly impressed us with their communication skills and knowledge of horticulture."

She added: "Trowell's owner David Henshaw trained at Derby College starting at age 16."

"Customers are very impressed by the garden."

The 16-strong group of students designed and built the monastic-theme garden as somewhere for contemplation, complete with groin arches, gargoyles, a water feature and a range of medicinal and culinary plants including vines and hops to make communion wine.

Jake said: "It has been great to have the experience both of working on the show garden and now at Trowell Garden Centre on my CV."

Fellow student Dan said: "This has given us all the ambition to hopefully make it to the Chelsea Flower Show together one day."

College horticulture lecturer Mike Baldwin concluded: "Winning has helped the students get on to the career ladder but it has also raised everyone's aspirations and showed what they can do."

Sarah Jenkins-Jones, Jake Sykes and Andy Potter

From left: Sarah Jenkins-Jones (Head of PR at Derby College at Broomfields), Jake Sykes and Andy Potter (Afternoon Show Presenter for Radio Derby).

On the Radio too…

Andy Potter, Afternoon Show presenter for Radio Derby, shares the above story on Friday 24th May, after a visit to the Garden Centre, last Thursday, 23rd May along with Sarah Jenkins-Jones, Head of PR from Derby College. Jake Sykes, one of the Derby students, was interviewed by Andy, and told him all about the details of the garden. Garden centre operations manager, Tania Simpson, underlined how proud she was to be working together with Derby Horticulture College and see this RHS award-wining garden here in Trowell Garden Centre!