Merrist Wood Students Win GOLD at BBC Gardeners World Live Spring Fair College Garden Competition

Merrist Wood College and University Centre is delighted to announce that it has been given a gold award at the BBC Gardeners’ World Spring Fair, a live event taking place on the beautiful Beaulieu Estate in Brockenhurst, Hampshire.  

The young group of Horticulture and Landscaping students from Merrist Wood spent the past couple of months designing and planning their show garden to enter the prestigious competition.   

The college was proud to be approached by producers of the show at the end of last year, asking if they would be interested to enter the new College Garden Competition category.  

The team was made up of eight keen students who were selected to represent Merrist Wood College and University Centre in the competition.   

The theme of this year’s entries was, ‘An Ode to Victorian Gardening’, the group of students, The youngest of whom is just 16 years of age, worked closely with mentor, award-winning garden designer Cherry Carmen, to bring their vision to life.  


An Extraordinary Achievement

Jo Manser, Director at Merrist Wood College said, “We are absolutely thrilled that the pure hard work, talent and enthusiasm of our student team has been recognised for this outstanding example of creativity, skill and commitment.   

“We are so proud of this group of learners, who are much younger than the other competing teams, and it is the first time they have ever taken part in an event such as this.  

“I commend the positive, can-do attitude of our learners and must also thank our small group of staff that have been on site all week, ensuring that our winning competitors were able to create this award-winning show garden!  

“We love any opportunity to show what our fantastic students are capable of; they should be rightfully proud of their truly extraordinary achievement this week. We are quite sure that successful careers in this industry await all of them!”  

Having arrived at the show site on Monday, the team spent three days building their show garden which they named ‘Elysium’ – a space which promotes wellbeing and serves to provide a place of peace, solace and connection for students and visitors alike.  

The garden also features benches made from a wind felled Western Hemlock tree on Merrist Wood Estate and crafted by Carpentry students at Guildford College, another Activate Learning campus.  

You can see Merrist Wood College’s show garden ‘Elysium’ for yourself as the event is now open to the public until Sunday 28 April.

Tickets for the event can be booked at: 

More about our Horticulture and Landscaping courses here