From education to employment

Pershore College student awarded gold for show garden

Sebastian Conrad and Kate Rees in their show garden at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival. Photo credit: Mimi Connolly, Member of the Garden Guild & Professional Garden Photographers Association
A horticulture undergraduate from Pershore College has been awarded a gold medal at last week’s RHS Malvern Spring Festival.

Sebastian Conrad, who is studying for a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Horticulture, was awarded the highest accolade for his contemporary show garden called “What if” in support of The Rees Foundation, a Worcestershire-based charity that provides support to care leavers.

The garden was created in collaboration with artist Kate Rees from Upton-upon-Severn and themed around the creativity in an artist’s mind. The garden featured three large colourful hand-painted steel structures which were designed to reflect an artist’s developing ideas.

The 27-year-old who is currently living in Wyre Piddle, said: “Getting a gold medal has been a fantastic experience.The best thing about putting your work out there is to receive feedback from experts, designers and professionals within the industry. There is nothing better than constructive criticism that enables you to push yourself further in the future.”

“A mutual friend suggested a collaboration with Kate and we both liked the idea of it because we both like pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zones as it leads to breaking a few boundaries.

“We both wanted to enable each other to show off our skills and merge them in symbiosis. As I come from an art background, the narrative of using nature and art led to the concept of an artist’s studio, and the moment of creation and its constant development. Like a garden it is very much about the organic process of change.”

His lecturer in horticulture and garden design at Pershore College, Mike Roberts, said: “Sebastian has always been extremely talented and shown great promise, flair and creativity during his time here at Pershore. We are extremely proud of this tremendous achievement and look forward to watching his career develop in the future.”

Originally from south Germany, Sebastian came over to the UK specifically to study at Pershore. He said: “I compared the culture of gardening in Germany and in England and I quickly decided that Pershore was going to be the place; it’s the facilities really and there is so much opportunity here.”

He added: “My grandmother was always into gardening and my family love the outdoors so nature is something I’ve been immersed in since childhood. I think there’s a threshold between science and art, and gardening fuses those together.”      

Sebastian made his Malvern debut last year when he designed a garden under the Green Living Spaces category, which was awarded a bronze medal. After he graduates from Pershore College this summer, Sebastian hopes to secure work experience and some internships before setting up as a professional garden designer.

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