Homebase Garden Academy student Nicola Oakey to build her first RHS Show garden at BBC Gardener’s World Live

Milton Keynes, 2015-5-27 — /EPR Retail News/ — Homebase Garden Academy student, Nicola Oakey, is about to build her first RHS Show garden at BBC Gardener’s World Live (11 – 14 June).

Nicola, who started the Academy in September 2014, successfully submitted a design for the ‘Beautiful Borders’ category of the show. The design had to be inspired by the ‘Industrial Heritage of the West Midlands’, so Nicola took this opportunity to celebrate the amazing pottery industry that has flourished in the area, notably Spode and Wedgewood.

“I can’t wait to bring my design to life”, said Nicola. “The Garden Academy visits Barnsdale Gardens every month to receive RHS training. It is really inspiring to spend so much time there and really fitting that it is where Geoff Hamilton filmed Gardener’s World.”

The border, although just 3x3m in size, will be packed full of exciting planting and many pottery-inspired features. An eye-catching focal point will be three Salix that have been woven into bold living columns. Their shape is reminiscent of the chimneys of bottle-oven kilns, which would have dominated the industrial skyline. Standing like living monuments to the pottery industry and the world-famous willow pattern.

If the commitment of organising a Show garden was not enough, Nicola is also going to make three bespoke stepping-stones that will cross the border. Made out of broken blue and white ceramics, the stepping stones will act as a beautiful, but poignant reminder of the factories where men, women and children tirelessly worked.

Nicola’s planting scheme is simple and elegant with hints of an English cottage garden. Her border has a blue and white colour scheme; timeless colours associated with well-known potteries and will contain bold drifts of herbaceous planting interspersed with a lush carpet of creeping groundcover.

Homebase’s Garden Academy scheme is now in its second year and is growing from strength to strength. It offers young people the opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of horticulture and receive all the relevant training and support they need to pursue a career in it. The students spend a year working full time in their local Homebase Garden Centre and have monthly training from Chelsea gold medallist Adam Frost. Students also visit a wide variety of horticultural suppliers and study toward a RHS Level 1 Award qualification.

“Designing and building a Beautiful Border is a great way to learn about what it takes to build a show garden, without being overwhelmed by the size of the space,” said Nicola. “The Garden Academy is lucky enough to be helping Adam Frost build his RHS Chelsea Flower Show garden this year; an invaluable experience, which should really help me during Gardener’s World Live.”

Adam Frost, who founded the Academy alongside Homebase said: “What an amazing achievement! Nicola should be proud that her design has been selected to be displayed at BBC Gardener’s World Live, I have no doubt this is the first of many accolades she will go on to achieve.”

Gardener’s World Live attracts over 100,000 visitors and takes place at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham from the 11 – 14 June.


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About Homebase
Homebase is a leading home enhancement retailer with around 58 million transactions a year, selling around 38,000 products for the home and garden. It has 296 large, out-of-town stores throughout the UK and Republic of Ireland and a growing internet offering at www.homebase.co.uk. In the financial year to February 2015, Homebase sales were £1.5 billion and it employed some 17,000 people across the business.

Homebase is part of Home Retail Group, the UK’s leading home and general merchandise retailer.


Homebase Garden Academy student Nicola Oakey to build her first RHS Show garden at BBC Gardener’s World Live

Homebase Garden Academy student Nicola Oakey to build her first RHS Show garden at BBC Gardener’s World Live