Green fingered students plan for the world title

Students at Askham Bryan College are hard at work preparing to build what they hope will be a world beating garden. For the first time the Great Yorkshire Show will be the venue for a landscape gardening competition, which in due course will see the overall winners compete against young gardeners from across the globe.

The York-based College is the training centre for the 12 landscape gardeners whose sights are set on being the two chosen as “Team UK” for the 2013 WorldSkills competition. The 12 are already winners, having been chosen from over a hundred possible contenders from across the country.

The Great Yorkshire Show, which runs from Tuesday 10 – Thursday 12 July will feature the competition’s first heat when, over the three days, six gardens plus a “show garden” will be created – against the clock and under the judges’ eyes! Their ultimate goal is Leipzig in Germany where the WorldSkills final takes place in July next year.

Nigel Pulling, Chief Executive of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society which runs the Great Yorkshire Show said:

This is an incredibly prestigious competition and we’re delighted to host the first heat. The horticulture section of the Great Yorkshire Show is hugely popular and I’m sure that watching these gardens take shape will be fascinating to see, and interesting to watch what can be achieved in a relatively short space of time.

The competition begins on Monday 9 July and finishes on the afternoon of Thursday 12 July with the judges allocating marks for the design, the planting plan, and the ability to work under pressure and to the highest standards. From the 12, eight will go forward to the next round, until the final squad of two is chosen in May 2013.

The UK training centre for the landscape gardening team is at Askham Bryan College and is run by horticulture lecturer and trainer Harry Turner. Mr Turner said: “This competition is the Olympics for young gardeners. They have to be able to cope with the pressures of working against the clock, to extremely stringent rules and create a garden which is inspirational and horticulturally impressive.” The College has a good track record of success, being the runners up to the overall title at the last WorldSkills event in 2011, and being the reigning European Champions.

In addition a selection of small gardens will be created by professional gardeners from across the region for visitors to see. These are separate to the WorldSkills competition and are being supported by Marshalls who are also providing a design service at the Show.


Centre, Askham Bryan College student David Brereton, the Yorkshire Agricultural Society’s Chief Executive Nigel Pulling, lecturer and trainer Harry Turner and Louis Thewlis, also a horticulture student, at one of the training gardens at the College 


Over its 60 year history, WorldSkills International has come to symbolise the pinnacle of excellence in vocational training. Every two years hundreds of young people, compete before the public in the skills of their various trades and test themselves against demanding international standards. They represent the best of their peers drawn from regional and national skill competitions held currently in 52 countries/regions.

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