Date of release: Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Chelsea Flower ShowThree Greenwich graduates have won gold medals in this year's Chelsea Flower Show.

James Basson, Sarah Eberle and Gavin McWilliam, all garden designers of international renown, have received top prizes for their creations.

Modelled on a Maltese quarry, James Basson's garden is described as "one of the boldest and most arresting seen at Chelsea for many years" in a Daily Telegraph article. A Show Garden, for M&G Investments, it has "exposed walls and scattered stone blocks, infiltrated by wild plants and presided over by gnarled old trees and broad stone stacks soaring up to 26 feet."

His creation was also awarded Best Show Garden.

A Greenwich alumnus with a first class honours degree in Garden Design, James has won gold medals three times at Chelsea, in 2013, 2015 and 2016, as well as a silver gilt in 2012, and various other honours. A strong advocate of dry gardens, he is also known for raising awareness of working with locally sourced plants and traditional materials.

Gavin McWilliam wins gold for another Show Garden called Breaking Ground, which he created alongside business partner Andrew Wilson. The garden has an educational message from Wellington College, a leading independent school, of "breaking down the walls to independent schooling" and allowing access to education for talented young people.

Gavin studied for a Masters in Landscape Architecture and co-runs Wilson McWilliam Studio and Landscape Design.

Sarah Eberle wins gold at Chelsea for the thirteenth time for The Viking Cruises Garden of Inspiration, which is one of this year's Artisan Gardens. Her work is described as "a garden redolent of the Mediterranean; succulents, lofty palms, and a fruiting orange tree combine with a mosaic covered wall, inspired by Gaudi and his distinctive style".

Sarah qualified as a landscape architect in 1980, and was awarded an honorary doctorate from the university in 2008 in recognition of her outstanding work.

She says she was attracted to Thames Polytechnic, as the university was formerly known, by the opportunity it offered to think outside the box. "My greatest strengths as a designer are a very good eye and my visualisation skills. Those are the main things I was taught," she adds.

The awards are also a tremendous tribute to the University of Greenwich, which celebrated its 50th anniversary of teaching landscape architecture last year. 

Today's students benefit from learning in the award-winning Stockwell Street building, home to the university's Department of Architecture & Landscape. Stockwell Street features one of Europe's largest teaching and learning 'green roof' landscapes, and a 'living wall' – a vertical surface of colourful plant life, used to aid the studies of the landscape architects who are taught there.

Chelsea Flower Show runs from today (Tuesday 23 May) until Saturday 27 May.

For more on exploring the gardens at Chelsea:

The Daily Telegraph article on James' garden is at

For more on studying in the university's Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities:

Story by Public Relations

Picture: The M&G Garden by James Basson, awarded Best Show Garden at Chelsea.