Ryton Organic Gardens, Garden Organic’s flagship organic gardens in Warwickshire, are to be redesigned by a partnership overseen by award-winning garden designer David Stevens, both a Fellow of The Society of Garden Designers and The Chartered Institute of Horticulture, working with a team of garden design students from Sparsholt College, Hampshire.

First opened in 1986, the large gardens at Ryton-on-Dunsmore, near Coventry, have grown with the charity, and evolved gradually over time. Whilst individual areas of the garden have been redesigned over the years, the site as a whole has not been reviewed for some time, to take into account its primary role as an educational centre. “Just as organic horticultural knowledge and practice has evolved, we felt it was time that the overall design of the gardens evolved too.” commented Garden Organic Chief Executive, James Campbell. “As the original pioneers of organic horticulture, it is important to ensure our gardens continue to demonstrate the best organic practice, to inspire and educate the growers of today and the future.”

The process of selecting a designer to take on this prestigious project was started through an open competition, co-ordinated by the Society of Garden Designers, and saw a number designers selected to submit designs. “We were highly impressed with the quality of design submitted by all entrants,” continued James. “In the end we were unable to select just one design, as all had their own merits. We felt that a partnership between several designers would offer the best solution for both the gardens and the designers.”

The partnership will see experienced garden designer, David Stevens, guiding some of the best new talent in garden design from Sparsholt College. “I can’t wait to get going on this project,” commented David Stevens, “It’s a rare honour to be able to work on such a well-loved and revered garden, and helping to support the next generation of garden designers through this project makes it all the more special.”

The team at Sparsholt College are equally as excited about working on the project. “This project gives the students involved a priceless opportunity to learn from one of the UK’s leading garden designers, whilst working on such a unique site.” commented Harry Mycock of Sparsholt College.

The team will begin work on this project by pulling together the requirements of all the different users and visitors to the gardens – from the Garden Organic staff who use the gardens daily, to Garden Organic members and visiting school groups – and feeding them into an overall design. The intention is that work will start this autumn and will be completed in time for Garden Organic’s Diamond Jubilee in 2018.