Helen blossoms to pot TV garden award

PUBLISHED: 11:43 12 January 2006 | UPDATED: 09:27 06 May 2010

Helen Brading-Miles scooped the BBC Gardener of the Year award

Helen Brading-Miles scooped the BBC Gardener of the Year award

A STUDENT of horticulture has shown she is blooming marvellous by winning a television gardening award. Helen Brading-Miles, 30, is studying at evening classes for the Royal Horticulture Society s advanced certificate in horticulture at Shuttleworth Colle

A STUDENT of horticulture has shown she is blooming marvellous by winning a television gardening award.

Helen Brading-Miles, 30, is studying at evening classes for the Royal Horticulture Society's advanced certificate in horticulture at Shuttleworth College, Old Warden.

But her love of plants and garden design has won her the accolade of BBC Gardener of the Year 2005.

"There are many reasons why I was successful," said Helen.

"Being surrounded by plants and gardens all my life has helped, but my studies at Shuttleworth have enabled me to fully understand the theory and principles behind my passion.

"Luckily, during the months before the competition I was learning about plant establishment, maintenance and design of ornamental gardens.

"This proved invaluable during the qualifying rounds when I was asked tough questions including some concerning soil types, seed mixes and the maintenance of herbaceous plants so I was able to answer knowledgably and confidently."

Talking about how she prepared and eventually won the competition, Helen said: "I had some difficulties in designing the garden and interpreting the brief. It was difficult working within the time frame of three-and-a-half days as well.

"I did have to tone down my design. I started off with more raised beds on my initial plan, but the time constraints meant they had to be cut out."

After winning the competition, Helen revealed that she has loved gardening since being a small child.

"I have always had an interest in growing things," added Helen.

"I can remember spending most of my childhood outside in either my parents' garden or on my grandparents' allotment, watching my grandfather turning the compost heap and my grandmother tending her seedlings in the greenhouse.

"When I was about five, I was given a little strip of land at the bottom of the garden to grow my own plants."

How does she feel being the BBC's top gardener?

"I feel honoured to be a winner, especially as I am the youngest ever winner," said Helen who lives in Harpenden.

"It's a dream come true. I've had a lot of advice from a lot of people since the competition and I realise now that I don't want to waste the opportunity of being able to work for myself.

"Being able to do a job that I absolutely love and being told that I am actually quite capable of doing it has given me a lot of confidence.

"I am in the process of setting up my own website because in the future I hope to be able to start designing, building and maintaining gardens for a living.

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