Date of release: Monday, October 10, 2011

From left, Susan Willmott, Richard McKenna and Adele FordTwo green-fingered University of Greenwich graduates have been named winners of the prestigious Student Garden Design & Build Award 2011.

Susan Willmott and Adele Ford, who both completed the university’s BA degree programme in Garden Design this summer, now plan to set up their own garden design and landscape business.

Now in its second year, the Student Design & Build Award is run by Wyevale East Nurseries in conjunction with the Royal Horticultural Society, and is open to students throughout the country.

The competition set entrants a task of creating a garden suitable for the English coast, and Susan and Adele triumphed with their joint creation, called Coastal Drift. If their winning design now gets the nod from judges at the Royal Horticultural Society, it will also be included as a show garden at next year’s Royal Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.

Susan and Adele’s brief was to create a small section of a garden, measuring just six by four metres in size, for relaxing and unwinding. Judges stated that the garden should replicate the type of growing conditions found on English coastlines, and take into account high rainfall and specific types of soil. Their winning concept was based on themes of movement of plants and the drift of the sea.

Susan says: “We were thrilled to win, and this recognition gives us a fabulous opportunity to launch our business. The degree course was pretty rigorous and there was a huge amount to learn, but to win a top national award means that all the hard work is starting to pay off.”

The winning pair graduated from the university’s Department of Landscape & Garden Design, part of the School of Architecture & Construction. They studied at Hadlow College in Kent, one of the university’s partner institutions, as well as at the university’s Avery Hill Campus.

Susan is continuing her studies with a postgraduate course in Landscape Architecture at the University of Greenwich, while Adele is currently working at Great Dixter House and Gardens in East Sussex.

Richard McKenna, Director of Wyevale East Nurseries, adds: “I am delighted to have two worthy winners. The opportunity to give newly qualified garden designers a launch pad for their careers is as exciting and rewarding for me as it is for Susan and Adele.”

For further information about studying one of the landscape and garden programmes at the University of Greenwich, visit, email or call 020 8331 9000.

Story by Public Relations

Picture: Susan Willmott (left) and Adele Ford, with Richard McKenna, Director of Wyevale East Nurseries.