Article: Northants Herald and Post


Two sisters from Wellingborough hope their new eco-friendly garden will be a spring board for them to compete in the prestigious Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show next year.

Caitlin and Tessa McLaughlin have entered the Royal Horticultural Society Malvern Spring Festival in May with their first ever competition designed garden.

Caitlin, 25, who is a former pupil at Wrenn School but now works at the Natural History Museum in London is bringing her scientific knowledge about plants to their concept.

Tessa, 21, who went to Southfields School for Girls in Kettering, and who now works as a supply teacher brings her passion for gardening and her organisational skills to this garden party.

What makes this Northamptonshire gardening dynamic duo so special is they are youngest team to be accepted in the show and the youngest competitors.

Tessa said: “We are just using our passion and creativity as we are not formally trained in design or horticulture.

“Gardening is our passion and creativity.

“We have created what is a conservation paradise, it is an urban nature reserve or where chic urban meets landscape gardening.

“These plants are really weeds and are ripped out but we want to show they are more than just weeds.

“Our garden focuses on UK native wild planting, specifically Crop Wild Relatives, which are genetically related to our socio-economic crop plants such as wheat and barley.

“These relatives are typically considered as weeds so are in need of conservation. Our garden aims to educate the public, and to form part of a larger urban nature reserve, about the importance of conservation. These plants hold traits such as drought resistance which would increase our future food security in the changing climate and growing population.

“We will have three and a half weeks to build the garden before the show starts.

“This is the first time we have ever done anything like this and are thrilled to be taking part.

“There are a lot of young designers coming through at the moment and when you see their work it is very different.

“I will be so nervous on the day of judging as we have to meet so many criteria.

“You never know what the judges are looking for when it comes to the colour scheme or plant density.

“For us this is a learning curve and what we like and what the judges like depends on their vision of how we meet the criteria and what they think.”

To keep it local and to support independent companies the duo are working with Bosworth’s Landscaping Company, based in Burton Latimer, to be constructing their garden on site at the Three Counties Showground in Malvern.

By Lawerence John

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