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Derby College Group students win award for impressive and realistic show garden

Derby College Group horticulture students are winners of a magnificent Silver Gilt Medal in the professional category at Gardeners World at Birmingham this week.

This was for their creation of the remarkable ‘Restoration Garden’. This captivating show garden pays tribute to the amazing metamorphosis of Wingfield Station, once a forgotten and dilapidated Victorian gem, now beautifully restored.

This has been such a fantastic opportunity for the students to do a real life project and demonstrate a broad range of the skills and knowledge they have learnt during their study programme, and the award is the icing on the cake!

The students, who are all studying Level 3 Horticulture at the college’s Broomfield Hall site, created their show garden working with the Derbyshire Historic Building Trust who are currently restoring this important site.

The horticulture study programme, which has been specially devised by the horticulture lecturer, Mike Baldwin, to bring together skills and knowledge in surveying, design, plantsmanship and construction – ideal for students who want to establish a gardening business.

The garden was designed by one of the students, Carleen Osborne. Carleen worked collaboratively with the other students and the Wingfield Station project team on the garden concept.

Garden designed by Horticulture students.

Mike Baldwin, Horticulture Lecturer at Derby College Group, who has now led 35 show gardens projects to date, said of the Restoration Garden:

“It is a brilliant result and so well deserved. The students have been working incredibly hard to create the garden and have really worked as a team.

“The outstanding garden is full of highly imaginative planting, great structures and many unique features, which all impressed the judges.

“And whilst it is not just about the award, it’s lovely to see the students efforts recognised. Well done!”

The Restoration Garden is the seventh Show Garden designed by horticulture students at Derby College for BBC Gardeners’ World Live.

Wingfield Station is one of the country’s rarest – in fact, one of the world’s oldest – rural railway stations. Despite 40 years of total neglect, the remains of the 1840 station are amazingly original.

Old picture of Wingfield Station in its operational days.

Thanks to funding from Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund and others, work continues to bring it back to life as office space.

Wingfield Station is being preserved as a time capsule going back to the very beginning of technological innovations that became one of the hallmarks of the Victorian era.

Once the show is over, elements of the garden will be replanted at Wingfield to echo the description of the station that appeared in the newspapers on 4 July 1840.

An article reporting on the grand opening ceremony of the newly completed Derby to Leeds line commented that “The station at South Wingfield was adorned with a variety of flowers and evergreens.”

This year’s BBC Gardeners’ World Live runs until June 18 at the NEC, Birmingham.