Gold for alumni at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019 

18 June 2019

Congratulations to alumna Sue Hayward who was recently awarded a gold medal at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019 for her garden design, "The High Maintenance Garden for Motor Neurone Disease". This is a wonderful achievement and not the first award Sue has won.

Before coming to NTU, Sue was a garment designer in the fashion and textile industry then in 2000, embarked on a career change and came to NTU to study FdSc Horticulture and Garden Design followed by BSc Hons Landscape and Heritage, graduating in 2004 and was awarded the 'Staff Prize' for high academic achievement:

“I really enjoyed my time at Brackenhurst and the students and tutors were really friendly and encouraging as well as the added bonus of learning in such a perfect setting as Brackenhurst campus. There were numerous outings to historic gardens and shows and also very prestigious visiting speakers which helped to get an insight into the garden design world.”

After leaving, Sue set up her garden design business Sue Hayward Garden Designs and has built up an impressive portfolio of clients in the East Midland area, throughout the UK and abroad:

“Working as a garden designer is a very rewarding occupation. The horticultural industry is very diverse and you need to put your hand to many skills and work with many different professions. Although I am essentially a one-man band, I manage to keep about six landscapers busy throughout the year. I work with another very talented NTU alumni Darren Billings (HND Horticulture 2000) who owns Leafgardens Landscaping.”

Sue returned to Brackenhurst as a part-time tutor and in 2007, the founder member of the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA), Martin Anderson MBE, approached her to invite her and students to help with creating a garden at Chelsea Flower Show. This was Sue’s first garden at the show, growing and tending the plants for a small artisan garden called ’The Shetland Croft House Garden for Motor Neurone Disease’. The team received a Gold Medal in 2008, and also won the BBC's Peoples Favourite Award for the Small Gardens section. 

Following this gardens’ success, Sue designed and helped build another garden at RHS Chelsea in 2010 for the MNDA, " The Stephen Hawking Garden for MND". Then in 2018, Sue designed, built and planted a "Beautiful Border" garden - "Bringing Light to the Shade" at the BBC Gardeners World Live that attained a Gold award. This was followed by her 2019 gold winning garden:

“The garden is a loved space, created over many years of hard work and is gradually being reclaimed by nature. The iconic British hand-built car is of equal passion to the garden owner and the result of planning for an enjoyable and active retirement. 

The garden depicts the limitations of a person with motor neurone disease: the senses and mind are still active but the body can be ‘locked in’. The untended garden can still be sensed by the owner though it is gradually slipping back into nature’s control. Still, it has a relaxed beauty and atmosphere that is a haven for wildlife.”

Sue gives talks and lectures to horticultural clubs and societies. The latest talks are:

  • '1000 Miles to Chelsea' - The creation, design and making of the gold medal winning MND Shetland Croft House Garden at Chelsea 2008 
  • 'A Garden in Time & Space' - the design and build of the "Stephen Hawking Garden for MND" 2010
  • ' Hints and Tips in Garden Design'
  • 'Career changes into horticulture'
  • 'The history of Teversal Manor and Gardens'
  • 'The Morgan 3 wheeler at Chelsea'

Please phone or email for more details and availability or if you’re interested in having your garden redesigned! 

We wish Sue every success in the future and hopefully more wins.



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