Ashington gardener Sean wins top BBC challenge

A keen gardener from Ashington has won a nationwide TV competition to design a garden at Chelsea Flower Show.

Sean Murray has been taking part in the Great Chelsea Garden Challenge on BBC2, which saw six amateur garden designers compete against each other in a series of creative challenges, mentored by Gardener’s World’s Joe Swift, to win the chance to design a garden for the main avenue of the Chelsea Flower Show.

Sean last night won over Royal Horticultural Society judge James Alexander Sinclair and Gold medal-winning garden designer Ann-Marie Powell to emerge victorious in the show, a collaboration between the BBC and the RHS, after he and two other finalists had to create a top garden in just five days.

The 51-year-old, from Ashington, Northumberland, has now designed a garden for this year’s flower show to highlight the RHS campaign calling for the “greening” of front yards.

“I am absolutely elated and I am very proud of myself,” he said.

“To feel that the judges have singled me out is a lovely feeling. I feel very honoured.

“I never would have dreamt I would be at chelsea, it is unbelievable that I’m going as a designer, that side of the rope.”

Sean was briefed by the RHS to design a front garden for the 2015 Chelsea Flower Show that incorporates plants and parking as part of its campaign Greening Grey Britain.

Sean, who has no formal garden training, said he was “truly astonished” to win the competition, which means his garden design will be seen by thousands of visitors to the London show and many more who tune in to TV coverage of Chelsea.

“It is the best feeling in the world to have your creativity recognised. Watching the design you have in your mind develop on paper and materialise into a living, breathing garden is an incredible feeling,” he said.

“In the competition I tried to create an element of storytelling in each garden.”

Sue Biggs, RHS director general, said: “It’s wonderful that we’ve helped one amateur garden designer fulfil his dream to create a garden at the world’s most famous gardening event.

“But it’s even more satisfying that we’ve helped him kickstart a new career that he has always dreamed of, and I hope many others will be inspired too.”