Sparsholt College staff and students and partner Plant Heritage are celebrating the news this morning that once again the College has won a Silver medal at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016. The People’s Plants designed and built by Horticulture students, highlights the important work of the charity Plant Heritage, including their Plant Guardian Scheme, National Plant Collection® scheme and Threatened Plants Project and how people across the UK can become actively involved in conservation of cultivated plants from their own back garden, greenhouse, allotment or windowsill.
Lecturer Chris Bird, who led the student team said: “We are thrilled and proud to have been awarded a silver medal at RHS Chelsea which is this country’s most prestigious flower show. We were keen to tell the Plant Heritage story and hope our garden will inspire others to become involved in the conservation of cultivated plants. For our students, exhibiting here culminates two years of study during which they have acquired the skills and know-how for a career in the horticulture industry. And whether embarking on their professional careers or progressing on to the Degree course they each have an RHS Chelsea Silver medal as testimony to their talents”.
The People’s Plants, created by a team of 15 Horticulture students , told the story of Plant Heritage’s ‘past’ with the garden highlighting groups of plants that have been traditionally collected such as Rosa, Hosta and Salvia. The current work of Plant Heritage and its members was the focus for the ‘present’, with National Collections from Hampshire sites providing a snapshot of this national organisation, their Threatened Plants Project and Plant Guardian Scheme. Finally for the ‘future’ the College garden highlights potential new Collections including the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Apples and the most wanted genera, not currently in Collections.
Sarah Quarterman, Plant Heritage Chief Executive, said: “We are thrilled to be the sponsor of Sparsholt College’s display this year and for The People’s Plants to receive a Silver Medal today is the icing on the cake! It has been an exciting experience partnering the team of students and Chris Bird, and we are grateful for all their hard work and efforts into bringing our plant cultivation and conservation story to life. We hope visitors to the Chelsea Flower Show make it a priority to see this spectacular and innovative plant display and are encouraged to find out more about how anyone with a passion for plants can become involved in our plant cultivation and conservation schemes”.
Sparsholt College Hampshire has a long history of Chelsea medal success achieving six Gold medals, three Silver-gilt medals, five Silver medals (including this year), three Bronze medals since 1998.
A number of horticulture courses are offered at Sparsholt College, from Apprenticeship through to the recently launched FdSc Horticulture with Plantmanship and Design. A leisure programme also provides ample opportunity for those looking to try their hand at a new skill or develop a long-held interest.