Max and Monty, Wadworth Brewery’s award-winning Shire horses, had a special day out in Sparsholt last week when they visited us to deliver beer barrels to our Horticulture students; the barrels will feature in the College’s 2015 RHS Chelsea Flower Show garden which is being sponsored by the famous Devizes brewery.

Commenting on the unusual sight of the Shires, who stand at more than 17 hands, student Roy Townson said: “Although the College has an Equine Centre and we’re very used to seeing horses, I think it’s fair to say we have never seen anything at the Horticulture Department like the spectacle of Monty and Max today. With their manes plaited, pulling the Wadworth dray, they looked stunning. It’s also great to take delivery of the barrels so we can continue working on our garden for this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show.”

The barrels will provide a focal point for the garden which tells the historic story of the hop – its uses and properties – and features two garden areas: one planted with species that make or flavour drinks, and the other a pub garden to relax and enjoy the drinks in. Aptly named ‘The Hop Cycle’, the garden will include an iconic pub sign, specifically designed by one of the students and recreated by the talented Wadworth Sign Shop Team, one of the only in-house sign writing studios left in the UK. The team hand paint all of Wadworth’s pub signs and enjoyed the challenge of interpreting the student’s design.

Fourteen Extended Diploma Horticulture students have planned, designed and will create the garden in the RHS Discovery section of the world famous flower show which opens to the public in May. The team follows a long line of medal winning Sparsholt students who have exhibited at the show achieving six Gold, three Silver-gilt, four Silver and three Bronze medals since 1998.

Chris Bird, the Horticulture Lecturer leading the student gardeners, was suitably impressed by the Shire horses who were ceremonially dressed for their task today and said: “Wadworth’s sponsorship of our exhibit this year has inspired focus on the horticultural and social history of the hop and has given us the context for a really stunning garden showcasing the talents of our young and ambitious students.”

Find out more about ‘The Hop Cycle’ garden