Winner announced in Welwyn Garden City Centenary Garden Competition

Image: Heather Appleton and her daughter Emmie of Appleton & Co. Design

The Welwyn Garden City Centenary Foundation (WGCCF) has chosen Heather Appleton of Appleton & Co Design as the winner in a competition to design a Centenary Garden which will have its debut at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2020 and then return to the town for all to enjoy.

Appleton & Co was chosen from a shortlist of four design teams selected from over 80 competition entries. The shortlisted design teams included Mazullo + Russell Landscape Design, Richard Riddell Garden & Landscape Design and Williams & Towner Studio.

David Green, Chair of the Judging Panel, commented: “All the entries in the final judging phase were of a very high standard. Ultimately, we settled on a scheme which will catch the eye at RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2020 and then successfully make the transfer to its new home in WGC. Warmest congratulations to Appleton & Co Design for an imaginative plan which will take root in its final location”.

Heather Appleton, who has won multiple gold medals at RHS shows and whose gardens have twice been named 'best in show' said: "Opportunities to design and deliver a Main Avenue show garden for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show are very rare and the Welwyn Garden City Centenary Foundation should be applauded from the rooftops for their time and energy in organising the centenary competition, it was a breath of fresh air".

Of the design competition Heather went on to say: “The Centenary of Welwyn Garden City and the story of Sir Ebenezer Howard and his indefatigable passion for Garden Cities, struck a chord with us, although research turned many of our preconceived ideas completely on their head, there were also a few surprises which we hope we’ve managed to encapsulate in the garden design".

Image: Welwyn Garden City

The competition, which launched in January 2017, was organised in conjunction with the Society of Garden Designers (SGD) and was open to both members and non-members of the Society. Sarah Morgan. Chair of the SGD said: "This was a fantastic initiative between the SGD and WGCCF providing an opportunity to celebrate the inextricably linked disciplines of landscape design and forward thinking town development. I look forward to seeing the garden built at RHS Chelsea in 2020. Congratulations to Appleton & Co Design and to all the SGD members who participated in the competition."

The eight strong judging panel included Hilary Thomas; Former Head of School of Garden Design at Capel Manor College, Andrew Wilson FSGD of the London College of Garden Design and garden designer, horticulturist and past SGD Chair Philippa O'Brien MSGD. The panel, which also included two local residents to represent the community, was chaired by David Green CB QC, Master of The Worshipful Company of Gardeners.

The final judging day was held at Hatfield House, home of Lady Salisbury, who is Patron of the WGC RHS Chelsea 2020 project. Lady Salisbury said: "It is very exciting that the Welwyn Garden City Centenary Garden competition attracted the interest of so many talented garden designers. Not only well-established professionals, but also gifted young designers. I am delighted that the winning design will be brought back to the town where it will be enjoyed by all and the prevailing spirit of Ebenezer Howard’s vision of ‘the marriage of Town and Country’ will live on".

The Centenary Garden is one of many planned events to celebrate 100 years of Welwyn Garden City and its innovative idea of healthy living. More information on the Foundation and the Centenary Celebrations can be found on the WGC website:

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