A TOP landscape gardener from St Helens has picked up a prestigious award after showcasing his talents at this week’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
Andrew Wilson joined forces with business partner and fellow gardener Gavin McWilliam to create a relaxing “discovery garden” for the eagerly-awaited annual event.
It’s the first time the RHS judge has created a show garden at the Chelsea Flower Show since 1995 - and he was awarded a silver-gilt medal for his efforts.
He said: “I’ve been a judge at the Chelsea Flower Show for the last 17 years but everything just fell into place this year so we decided to create our own show garden.
“We designed the garden in October and started getting the materials together and contacting the nurseries we wanted to grow for us as soon as our design was accepted.
“We finally started digging the ground on May 7 and the last two weeks are always the most focused and manic period. Everything hots up the closer you get to the event.”
Andrew, 53, was born in the old Cowley Hill Hospital and grew up in Thatto Heath before moving to Eccleston.
He recalled how, at 13, he was “one of those annoying children who knew exactly what they wanted to do” and decided to follow a friend of the family’s daughter into landscape architecture.
Andrew, who now lives in Chertsey, near London, became such an expert that he started teaching the discipline in 1984 and helped to create the London College of Garden Design.
He now juggles his work as a lecturer with writing books and carrying out private commissions via the Wilson McWilliam Studio.
But, for one week only, it’s all about his Chelsea Flower Show garden - which has been sponsored by New Zealand vineyard Cloudy Bay.
He added: “I wanted to create a relaxing space in which the owner of the garden might watch the sun go down with a glass of wine. And I wanted to try to do interesting or extraordinary things with perfectly ordinary raw materials. For example, we’ve used walls consisting of compacted earth and gravel. We wanted to make more of things than you would normally see.
“Luckily, the Chelsea Flower Show allows you to be a bit more adventurous and create a bit more theatre than you might normally achieve.
“Of course, everyone would like their garden to be a gold medal winner - but that’s not the reason you enter. I’ve enjoyed the whole process, from start to finish, and the client has been brilliant - very involved and excited.”