Case study – Derby College at BBC Gardeners World

3 min read

Scotland's Rural college at Scone
Derby College wins big @ BBC Gardeners World

Mike Baldwin is leading horticulture students in creating an amazing show garden for BBC Gardeners’ World Live. Mike is the Horticulture Lecturer at The Derby College Group.

The garden has been designed in collaboration with Derby College and Derbyshire Historic Buildings Trust. First and foremost it highlights the Bonsall Field Barn Restoration Project.

The students are all studying Level 3 Horticulture at the college’s Broomfield Hall campus. Furthermore the students have designed the show garden by drawing on their extensive knowledge and new experience. They have also worked closely with The Derbyshire Historic Building Trust.

Furthermore, the imaginative garden features a restored field barn within a setting inspired by the Peak District village of Bonsall.  The design also includes dry stone walling which is typical of the area and a limestone path representing the Limestone Way. Significantly, UK native plants form the majority of the planting around a dew pond. It also features a representation of a disused lead mine shaft featuring T’Owd Man of Bonsall. Planting is in keeping with the area, including a wildflower meadow and ornamentals thriving on limestone sites.

Creating the show garden is a wonderful opportunity for the students to do a real-life project. They have demonstrated a broad range of skills and the knowledge they have gained  during their study programme.


The Horticulture Study Programme

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

Mike Baldwin, Horticulture Lecturer at Derby College Group, who has now led 36 show gardens projects to date, and has been creating show gardens with students for 30 years said of the Bonsall Field Barn Garden:

“It is a great team effort, and everyone is working incredibly hard to create the different features of the garden. We will spend many more hours constructing this ahead of the BBC Gardeners World Live. I want the students to enjoy every moment of it and hopefully it will inspire them for the future. It is a brilliant garden concept. The students are working incredibly hard to create the garden and are really working as a team. The outstanding garden is full of highly imaginative planting, great structures and many unique features, which we are hoping will impress the judges.” 


Derby College at BBC Gardeners World LIve Derby College at BBC Gardeners World
Garden Design

Not only that but the garden was also designed by one of the students, Faye Geeson. Faye worked with the other students and the Bonsall Field Barn Restoration Project on the garden concept. Moreover, the design for the garden has been illustrated by another student, Chloe Ye. 

Faye Geeson, Designer and Derby College Group Student commented: 

“I did the RHS Level 2 course at the college last year and having found about the Level 3 course, couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get involved in building a show garden this year. Having never done anything like this before, I was delighted that my design was selected by Mike and the sponsors to be built. It’s been fantastic preparing everything for the garden with the rest of the students. Everyone has different skills and interests to bring to the project.  It’s also been an excellent excuse to visit all the local garden centres and nurseries to source plants. I can’t wait to start the build and see the finished project at the show!’ 

Significantly, The Bonsall Field Barn is the eighth Show Garden designed by Horticulture students at Derby College for BBC Gardeners’ World Live.

Harrowden / Turfonline has supplied Meadowmat Cottage Garden wildflower turf to support the project. The wildflower turf was sent early to the college to give it plenty of time to grow into the garden ahead of the show and we are really pleased to report that the Derby College “Bonsall” garden won a platinum award, the highest in the professional category.


Derby College Bonsall Garden

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