GOLD MEDAL SUCCESS SPARKS BRAND NEW BUSINESS FOR DESIGN STUDENT
September 20th 2019
A self-confessed plantaholic from Herefordshire, whose first ever attempt at building a show garden earned her a coveted Gold Medal, says the recognition has spurred her on to specialise in the art of landscape design.
Sara Edwards – who works as a computer-aided construction designer with a leading oak framed house building company - took home a prestigious Royal Horticultural Society Gold medal and a ‘Best in Category’ award for her garden Defiance at the national RHS Malvern Spring Festival earlier this year.
Media interest and subsequent coverage in the Financial Times, and the Garden Design Journal, not to mention encouraging comments from BBC Gardeners’ World presenter Monty Don and Radio 2’s Jo Whiley, confirmed her decision to turn what started out as a passion, into a business.
Since then, she has been commissioned to carry out other design work and is planning her next big foray into the world of gardening shows – one she describes as an ambitious, high-tech space, currently under wraps.
Sara comes from a green-fingered family of amateur gardeners and when her mother died in 2011, she inherited the house and garden she grew up in, and set about transforming it.
She shared pictures of her work on social media and was overwhelmed with the positive response she received.
“I was personally pleased with the transformation of course”, she says, “but I was genuinely surprised by the reaction of friends and acquaintances who told me I had a real talent which I ought to develop.
It sparked an idea for a business, so I signed up for a Diploma (Pickard School of Garden Design), graduated with a Distinction, and No. 30 Design Studio was born!
The experience of building a show garden at a national gardening event was an exhausting and enlightening process. It not only brought me a Gold medal, but it also left me with a whole host of new skills, ideas and more faith in what I can achieve.
Another major revamp of the garden I have loved since I was small, is already underway.”
Sara’s first Show Garden was inspired by her own journeys through Brazil where the garden of Modernist landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx made a real impression.
Designed as a balcony garden for a traveller returning from the lush green tropics to the concrete facades of a city dwelling, Defiance demonstrated how a concrete jungle can be transformed using an abundance of colourful plants and exotic foliage, to create a welcome oasis amidst the stark reality of inner city life. The walls of the interiors were papered with a mural of photographs taken during her travels.
“I was thrilled with the judges’ comments about my garden, said Sara, “and apparently I only dropped a few points. It was described as ‘polished’ and as a ‘masterclass in planting’ and one judge, who had actually been to the Sitio Burle Marx garden, told me that ‘Defiance’ captured its very essence.
Another even wanted to take it home – you can’t get much better than that!”