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Students past and present collect accolades at Chelsea Flower Show

Green fingered Leeds Beckett students past and present have been recognised at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show.

Johanna Marshalls stand

Alumna Andrée Davies worked alongside the Duchess of Cambridge on her garden, while current MA Landscape student Johanna Elvidge designed the five-star rated Marshalls trade stand.

The BBC’s coverage of the event was also presented by David and Harry Rich, who graduated from the university’s BA Landscape Architecture and Design in 2010 and 2013 respectively.

Since leaving the university, the brothers have become household names in the gardening world, becoming the youngest-ever designers to win gold for a main garden at Chelsea.

Working alongside the Duchess was the latest milestone in Andreé’s career, which has spanned over two decades following her graduation from undergraduate and postgraduate courses at Leeds Beckett.

Her architecture firm Davies White has previously won a gold medal at Chelsea and the BBC’s People Choice Award, accolades that helped her to catch the attention of royalty.

Inspired by childhood memories of the natural world, the garden’s woodland setting encourages people from all generations and backgrounds to reconnect with nature and enjoy growing plants for their health and wellbeing.

Elsewhere, a five-star award was a just reward for Johanna Elvidge, who has had to juggle numerous commitments while designing her garden.

A part-time student at the university, she also works full-time at Marshalls and is a mother.

Johanna said: “I’ve designed gardens for Marshalls in the past, but nothing on the scale of this. I knew it would be a big project, it’s Chelsea, and to be involved is a great and unexpected privilege.”

The ‘A Great British Brand’ themed garden showcases the diversity of Marshalls products, with items and inspiration taken from across the group, and has given Johanna the opportunity to utilise the skills she has learned on her course.

Next month, Johanna’s work will be showcased again at the BBC Gardeners’ World Live show between 13-16 June.

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