Students’ joy at blooming great Chelsea result

The team in their award-winning garden
The team in their award-winning garden
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It took exhausting 13-hour days to create and was put together on a shoestring budget.

But everything has come up roses for a team of gardeners from the Capital, whose entry to the world-famous Chelsea Flower Show has picked up a Silver-Gilt Medal – the second highest award available.

The team is made up of Tom Edgar, Matthew Lowe, Simon Garnett, Penny Wright, Anna Kapuvari and Karolina Tercjak, all students at the Scottish Agricultural College (SAC).

Their Plant Explorer garden – developed from the original design by Karolina – was entered in the Artisan Garden Class.

In it, an imaginary “plant explorer” travels the world to photograph plants in their natural environment and reproduces that at home.

The five-by-four metre garden features bespoke art objects and exotic plant species, including massive, frog-inhabited Gunneras, bamboo and banana plants.

Clear resin was used to permanently “freeze” plants or parts of plants which can be discovered around the garden.

The creation triumphed over gardens submitted by professionals.

Tom, 24, from Inverleith, who is in the second year of an HND in garden design, said: “Winning this prize is more than I could ever have hoped for.

“We thought it was an achievement for us to even be at Chelsea Flower Show, to have received this medal was the icing on the cake.

“It makes all of our long days in the college – 13 hours at a time, with only four hours of sleep a night in the run-up to the show – worthwhile.”

The Plant Explorer garden was filmed by the BBC and beamed to viewers across the world, and the event proved a royal occasion for team leader Penny, 50.

“The Duchess of Gloucester came over to have a bit of a chat with me about the garden, which was nice,” she said.

Penny added: “We’re so happy that we managed to achieve this with such a small budget, particularly compared to everyone else.

“Because we work so well together, we might consider getting together for another show.”

SAC garden design lecturer Jason Russell said: “What makes the garden so good is their attention to detail, people have been saying it looks like it has been there for a hundred years.

“To get a Silver-Gilt at Chelsea is no easy matter, I’m proud of them.”

The success of the team – who would like to thank Stella Rankin, Taylor Maxwell and Arnold Clark for their help – comes after a group of SAC students scooped a silver medal at Chelsea in 2010.

The team’s next task is to move their garden from London back to Edinburgh to join their course mates and rivals.

SAC has entered two show gardens for the Gardening Scotland show at Ingliston, which runs from June 1 to June 3.