A specialist further education college near Oswestry was delighted to be praised for its hard work, during a challenging 2020, by UK-wide horticultural campaign Britain in Bloom.

The Walled Garden at Derwen College, near Oswestry, has been recognised by Britain in Bloom for its important place in the community. The garden, which was presented to Derwen College from the Shropshire Horticultural Society in 1989, continues to change and develop in order to provide students with special educational needs and disabilities with learning opportunities.

Students on the College’s Horticulture pathway, tend to the garden as part of their learning and work experience. Visitors to Derwen College’s Garden Centre and Shop, and Garden Café enjoy spending time in the tranquil and picturesque space when they are able to visit.

In 2019, the beautiful Walled Garden scooped a top prize of Gold/Outstanding Award in the Royal Horticultural Society-run Britain in Bloom competition in the category called ‘In Your Neighbourhood’. For 2020, judging was not able to happen in the same way. However, Derwen College was thrilled that The Royal Horticultural Society and Heart of England in Bloom presented the College with a Certificate of Recognition.

RHS Community Development Manager Kay Clark said:

“This year, an amazing sense of community spirit has enabled people to face the difficulties of this dreadful pandemic together. Through Bloom, It’s Your Neighbourhood, and other community gardening activities you have laid the strong foundations that helped make your communities more resilient in these testing times.

“We know that people have felt closer to nature through lockdown and valued access to green space so much more, and we have heard that people are valuing your work more than ever before. We want to recognise how important you all are and how valuable your work is with certificates in 2020.”

Derwen College Principal Meryl Green said

“We are over the moon that the hard work of our Horticulture students and staff has been recognised during a year like no other, where everyone has had to pull together to do the very best that they can in exceptional circumstances.

“We are very proud of our Walled Garden which is a beautiful, tranquil space that is enjoyed by students, staff and the community. We look forward to being able to welcome back visitors in 2021.”