Sparsholt College continue their RHS Chelsea Flower Show medal-winning run with the news of a ninth Gold medal and Best Discovery Exhibit at this year’s show.

This year the College teamed up with Thompson & Morgan to create the Behind the Genes garden. Students, staff and the Thompson & Morgan team worked incredibly hard on the planning and execution of the garden. Their dedication resulted in not only a Gold medal but also winning Best Discovery Exhibit.

The Behind the Genes garden was designed to provide a visually inspiring insight into the processes of plant breeding, selection and development helping to showcase the commitment and expertise involved in plant breeding from the past and into the future. The garden prompted show visitors to think about the future of plant breeding and the possibilities it holds.

This year the team was joined by Lance Russell, a current Thompson & Morgan horticulturalist and manager who first visited RHS Chelsea as a student member of the Sparsholt College Gold Medal-winning team in 2014.

To help explain the exciting science behind the Behind the Genes garden, plant hunter Peter van Rijssen joined the team. Peter is an inspirational horticultural figure who manages the trials for a worldwide portfolio of new plants as well as being on the board of directors of the Royal Dutch Horticultural Society (KVBC) and an avid promoter of plants and new genetics, trialling new varieties at locations all around the world.

Lecturer Chris Bird speaking about his ninth Gold Medal, along with three Silver-gilt medals, six Silver medals and three Bronze said: “It was a great feeling to receive a double award for our Behind the Genes garden. The Team worked really well together and all members tapped into their existing and current skills, there was a lot of sharing of knowledge.”

Level 3 RHS Horticulture student, Jessica Collacott, who was part of the RHS Chelsea 2019 team said: “It was mentally and physically challenging but I’ve learnt so many new skills. I’ve built new friendships and the team really bonded as a group. Working with Thompson & Morgan brought a whole different element to the garden and the experience.”

Find out more about the ‘Behind the Genes’ garden.