Belfast Telegraph

Chelsea Flower show: Co Down man uses peas process to scoop gold

By Allan Preston

A Co Down landscaper who built a gold medal-winning garden at the Chelsea Flower Show says he's thrilled by the success.

Aaron Jamison from Crossgar started his own business Lawn & Border six years ago.

The Seedlip Garden, designed by Catherine MacDonald and celebrating the humble pea, won the 'Space to Grow' category at the show.

"I'd previously built a design for Catherine at the Chelsea Flower Show back in 2016 and was asked back again," said the 24-year-old.

Starting on May 4, Aaron and his team worked up until last Sunday, doing 15-hour shifts to complete their intricate work.

On bringing home the gold, the Greenmount College graduate said: "It's a real privilege because it's the highest accolade you can get in the agricultural world to say you were part of that team. I can't believe it.

"It was celebrating the garden pea, so the whole garden featured a lot of green circles with pea plants everywhere, including on the roof of the metal 'peavilion' as well."

He added that concentrating on every detail of the design put the team out in front.

"I think it just hit every mark the judges were looking for, so you can't go wrong with that," he said.

"We did everything to the highest standard. Catherine's design had things like pea plants in the grilles between the path and crushed green granite between paving slabs, which all added to the effect. I started my company when I was 18, so this isn't bad going.

"It's a great thing to tell clients, but at the moment I think it still impresses people a bit more in England than Northern Ireland."

Dr MacDonald, who has a PhD in genetics, told the Daily Telegraph there was more to peas than meets the eye.

She said: "We're championing three pea pioneers from three centuries: geneticist Gregor Mendel, who crossed more than 28,000 pea plants in the 19th century; Dr Calvin Lamborn, who bred the first sugar snap and passed away in August last year, and finally Seedlip's Ben Branson, who's taking the pea forward by distilling it into his non-alcoholic spirits."

The 'peavilion' was constructed by welding green aluminium tubing together.

"When I first saw the metalwork it made me feel a little bit emotional. It exceeded my expectations," she added.

Belfast Telegraph

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