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Red rhythm

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Gilly Brennan Gilly Brennan | 19:09 UK time, Wednesday, 22 July 2009

One of the things I love about the Tatton show is the way the RHS are so encouraging to young designers. Many young hopefuls have started here with a small back to back garden and have then gone on to bigger and better things, a successful career being one of them.

This year, for the first time, there was a special competition for young designers under 25 from the north-west region. Two finalists were selected and invited to build gardens that were to be judged alongside the other show gardens and awarded RHS medals. Next year the Young Designer of the Year competition goes national and there will be three lucky garden-builders having a go.

Lee Belgrau is a student at Reaseheath College and his design, 'Red Rhythm', was one of the two chosen this year.

I think it's stunning - one of the most accomplished here. Lee says that his inspiration came from the shiny red posts that are the first thing you notice, rising up out of a beautiful raised bed. The five verticals are continued horizontally across a broad path of rough cut blocks of slate - creating a satisfying contrast of textures.

He has carried the red into the planting. It's vibrant and sophisticated; Crocosmia 'Lucifer', Dahlia 'Bishop of Llandaff' and dark Helenium 'Moerheim Beauty' lead the way. On the shadier side of the path, large specimens of Photinia 'Red Robin' and Astilbe 'Burgundy Red' continue the theme. I like the way that Lee has designed the garden with young clients in mind, it's ideal for a smaller, urban space, perfect for socialising.

Lee got a well-deserved Gold medal, a fantastic achievement for his first show garden. He has demonstrated that good design is about scale, function, harmony and, of course, rhythm. I shall be looking out for his name at future shows and I'm also quite tempted to look out for some shiny red posts...


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