Horticulture staff and students at Derby College have won a coveted gold medal at BBC Gardeners’ World Live 2016 at the NEC for their unique plant border created to raise awareness of multiple sclerosis.
The College teamed up with The Multiple Sclerosis Society, Derby and District Branch for the project and were sponsored by Plantscape in Hulland Ward near Ashbourne.
The 5.75 metre by 1.25 metre raised border was designed by Horticulture Lecturer Mike Baldwin and Education Support Worker Michelle Buxton with a group of second year Horticulture students who are based at Broomfield Hall in Morley.
Inspired by the poem ‘MS’ by Rose Robinson, the border design incorporates the National MS Society colours of orange and black – signifying the highs and lows in the emotional journey facing MS sufferers.
A metal sign running through the plants spells out the message ‘Hope Forms the Future’ which will be created by Engineering students at the College’s Roundhouse campus and is a based on the Charity’s mission statement.
Horticulture lecturer Mike Baldwin explained: “We were up against eight other entries in the Beautiful Borders category and were the only College to compete so to have clinched a gold medal is amazing.
“The border is designed to raise awareness of the work of the charity and to be thought provoking as to challenges, anger, pain and frustration facing the 100,000 people affected by the neurological condition in the UK.
“The overall message is however upbeat with light shining through the metal letters on the border and the strength of the plants rising from the earth – mirroring the enduring hope of finding a cure to this dreadful disease.
“Orange and black and are not colours that you would ordinarily see in a planting scheme so we are delighted that it has been eye-catching to the judges and to the public at the show.
“Our future goal is to design a far larger garden to be entered into the RHS show that will be held next year at Chatsworth House – again in partnership with the Derby branch of the MS Society.”
Peter Milner, Chairman of The MS Society Derby and District Branch said: “Everyone connected with this project are absolutely thrilled. We really feel that this project is helping to put the world of MS on the map, by creating great awareness of the condition and the tremendous work the MS Society is doing.
“On the first day of Gardener’s World, our garden attracted such a large amount of interest and well wishers.
“Our sincere thanks to all at Broomfield College for their fantastic team effort in achieving the high standard of a Gold Award and to the volunteers of the MS Derby & District Branch who have given up so much of their valuable time.
“We are also extremely grateful to our main sponsor, Plantscape, without whom this project would simply not have been possible.”
Mark Stone, owner of Plantscape and a former student at Broomfield Hall concluded: “We were very privileged to have been invited to be the main sponsor for the garden and we are extremely impressed by the results.
“It is clear how much thought, creativity and hard work has gone into producing a border which is thoroughly deserving of the judge’s praise and such a prestigious accolade.
“I am sure that everyone at the College is feeling extremely proud of their achievements and that the students will enjoy showing off their border to the many thousands of visitors for the remainder of the show.”
Picture shows, from left: Peter Milner, Michelle Buxton and Mike Baldwin with the gold certificate in front of the winning border.