It was a smashing start to the weekend as garden designers from South Eastern Regional College (SERC) were named ‘Best Design’ AND ‘Best Overall’ in the Team Garden Challenge competition at this year’s Allianz Garden Show Ireland held in Antrim Castle Gardens.

The theme for the Team Garden Challenge celebrated one of Northern Ireland’s most famous writers, CS Lewis, and teams were challenged to create “A Narnia Garden!

The theme tasked garden designers to design and present a 3m by 3m garden and build their plot in one day, with a budget of only £500 – with the planning and designing of the garden taking many months preparation!  Teams were encouraged to re-cycle and re-use in creating their garden.

Gardens were judged by the Team Challenge Garden Judges who were looking for interpretation of theme, creativity, budgeting and good teamwork.

The design team, led by tutor Joanna Loane with help from the horticulture team, expressed their joy at securing the prestigious prizes exclaiming they felt “really proud of what they had achieved”. The team also won Best in Show at the 2014 competition for their kitchen garden.

Exhausted but pleased with the finished result, Joanna said, “We had some really positive feedback. It was a brilliant hands-on experience especially at such a big event. It has been great to be involved in this project from start to finish. Seeing our design evolve into a real garden has been a great experience. To come away with two awards has put a fantastic finish on a very successful year. We were celebrating for two reasons, as not only did the garden win Best Design, but we also won ‘Best Overall’ title which means that we achieved full marks in every category.”

The College would like to sincerely thank Woodstoc Bangor for their donation of timber, Mount Stewart National Trust and Billy McCone, Chairman of Irish Garden Plant Society for the loan of their plants to help with the garden display.

SERC’s Holywood campus is holding an information and plant sale at their Old Holywood road campus on 24 May from 10am-2pm. To find out more about Horticulture courses visit or call the enrolment hotline on 0345 600 7555 or visit our Facebook page search SERC Horticulture.

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