Ideal Young Gardeners of the Year Competition 2016

For the sixth year running, I have teamed up with the Ideal Home Show and the Prince’s Foundation to find the best Ideal Young Gardeners of the Year.

Watch ITV Regional News coverage of the Young Gardeners of the Year competition.

Students from six of the UK’s top landscaping and horticultural colleges compete to be crowned the Young Gardeners of the Year.

They design and build beautiful, sustainable show gardens at the Ideal Home Show, Olympia London.

The competition aims to champion young green talent and give students first-hand experience of creating professional show gardens from scratch.

The gardens are judged by a panel of industry experts and one is awarded the Best at Show trophy.

And there’s another challenge: students have just six days to build and plant their gardens.

Video tour

Video tour of the gardens

Judging and awards

How we judge the gardens

Young Gardeners of the Year 2016 judges explore the show gardens

The show gardens are revealed at the opening of the Ideal Home Show in London on 18 March. They are judged by a panel of experts, including horticultural industry leaders, home and garden magazine editors and acclaimed garden designers.

The judges can award gold, silver gilt, silver and bronze medals, as well as the Best At Show award.

Students from the winning college are crowned the Ideal Young Gardeners of the Year!

The gardens are then exhibited throughout the Ideal Home Show, where around a quarter of a million visitors were be able to see and enjoy them, plus vote for their favourite! The People’s Choice Award is presented to the winning college at the end of the show.

Show Garden Build

Each college is given a 5.5x4m plot and a design brief. They can prepare parts of the garden before the build, but once on site they have only six days to finish their show gardens.

Young Gardeners of the Year 2016 show garden build animation

Build Stop-Motion Animation

Amber Winship from Pershore College reveals what it was like to be part of the Young Gardeners team.

The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community

Talking to Chichester college students

Prince Charles congratulates students from winning college Chichester in 2014

The competition links with the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community to encourage more sustainable gardening techniques.

The organisation sets clear guidelines for the gardens based on the organic and sustainable principles that the charities’ president, The Prince of Wales, has championed for so long.

HRH The Prince of Wales has also visited the gardens numerous times to meet the young gardeners and congratulate them, as well as offering them words of encouragement for the future.

Read all about the 2014 royal visit here.

Video Reel

ITV Regional News came to explore our show gardens.

Chichester College garden

Pershore College garden

Shuttleworth College garden

Writtle College garden

Launching the 2016 Competition

In November 2015 we launched the Young Gardeners of the Year competition for the sixth year. We also revealed the new design brief.

Students, staff and organisers of the Young Gardeners of the Year competitionat the November launch

Students, staff and organisers of the Young Gardeners of the Year competition at the November launch


Watch our video from the competition launch.

The 2016 brief asked students to design gardens to inspire city-dwellers and create a sense of tranquility and sustainability.

The Prince’s Foundation tasked the students with incorporating elements of an educational garden into the design. That can be health and nutrition, sustainability, biodiversity or art and science.

The finished gardens should also aim to inspire young people to reconnect with nature and engage with green space.

The judges also look for clever planting, a sense of harmony and proportion and clever use of the vertical dimension.