Horticulture alumni Kate Smith has secured First Place in the Farnham Secret Gardens competition, Sparsholt College is pleased to announce. 

Run annually by Farnham Town Council, the Farnham Secret Gardens competition that aims to highlight the hard work of local Horticulturalists and garden enthusiasts, from carefully designed back and front gardens to beautiful courtyards and even smallerimaginative garden troughs and hanging basket displays. They also ensure that wild habitats are maintained, encouraging the incorporation of features such as bird houses and bug boxes. 

Ex-Sparsholt Horticulture student Kate made use of her time in the recent countrywide lockdown, dedicating her efforts to the upkeep and maintenance of her garden. Winning the first prize accolade in the ‘Large Garden’ category, Kates 12 acre garden belonged to the Old Vicarage in Frensham. 

The large plot of land features front, back and side gardens, with sloping parkland, a wild pond, two water meadows, and a small woodland. The garden is also bordered by the River Wey. The meanders of the river are reflected in the back garden’s curvaceous lawn, with herbaceous borders, multi stemmed Amelanchier canadensis, ornamental Pyrus calleryana ‘Chanticleer’ and Pyrus salicifolia ‘Pendula’ all planted. 

Due to lockdown restrictions in place at the time, the competition was originally to be judged remotelyhowever, as restrictions eased, an adjudicator from Farnham council was able to visit the gardens in personThis meant the judging could take the entire garden space into account, rather than relying on photographs and videos. 

Delighted with the result, Kate said “When I attended Sparsholt College, I took the Horticultural Certificate in Garden Design. I thoroughly enjoyed this challenging course, learning detailed horticultural knowledge, gaining experience in surveying a garden and design concept planning.  

“Now, with the skills learned from the Garden Design course, I try to apply good design practice and use acquired plant knowledge, planting the right plant in the right place and trying out new plant combinations.” 

Kate hopes that the award will continue to expand her opportunities in the garden design industry. 

With a national reputation for excellence in horticulture and garden design, Sparsholt provides learners with the valuable knowledge and training to launch directly into the industry or higher study at university. Our expert teaching team is renowned within the industry, regularly winning Gold and Silver Medals at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.  

Find out more about our Horticulture & Plantsmanship courses here.