The Auckland Project

Gardener at the Auckland Project Receives Prestigious Award

A talented young gardener working at The Auckland Project, a regeneration charity, has won an award for Young Horticulturist of the Year

After a closely fought competition, Lucy Whitehead was awarded the accolade by the Chartered Institute of Horticulture for the third year running and will represent the ‘Northern’ category at the national grand final held on 9 May. 

At the grand final, Lucy will compete for a £2,500 travel bursary, designed to fund the winner’s horticultural-related travel to any part of the world. In this way, enhancing their knowledge, honing new skills and diversifying their knowledge by seeing non-native plants. Previous winners have visited Borneo, New Zealand, South Africa and the Galapagos Islands with their winnings. 

Lucy Whitehead, gardener at The Auckland Project, said: “The competition is always a highlight of my year. It is great to meet young people in horticulture from such a wide range of sectors. Including historic gardening, community allotments and research.  

The Auckland Project

“My participation has pushed me to expand my knowledge and to engage with the everyday work in the gardens. I’m proud to have won the regional finals and to represent the Northern chapter for the third time at the grand final at Hestercombe House in May.” 

As part of her role at The Auckland Project, Lucy ensures the parkland and gardens are looking their best. This involves pruning plants, digging new flower beds, propagating, growing seedlings and watering. 

The award comes at a special time as The Auckland Project finishes the multi million-pound redesign of its Walled Garden, Faith Garden, Broadwalk, Wilderness Garden and new glasshouse. All due to open in early summer.   

The Auckland Project – Walled Garden

The enormous glasshouse will house everything that is subsequently planted in the Walled Garden. It will remain true to its historic purpose of growing fruit and vegetables that’s shared across the community.

Renowned designer Pip Morrison collaborates to design The Walled Garden, lining it with visually stunning flower beds. These beds introduce an array of colours, textures, and scents that flood the senses and provide inspiration to everyone. From gardening novices to experienced horticulturists.

Just next to the new Faith Museum, the Faith Garden is a tranquil place for reflection. It sees neat and pleasant lines complemented by trees in a grid formation. There’s a stone sett paving recognising the footprint of Bishop Bek’s Chapel, discovered during recent archaeological works at Auckland Castle. 

Andy Nesbitt, head curator of park and gardens and landscapes at The Auckland Project, added: “I was over the moon to hear Lucy had achieved Young Horticulturist of the Year. It’s a huge achievement and everyone in the team is extremely proud of her.  

“At The Auckland Project, we are passionate about teaching and employing the next generation of talented gardeners. They will take over the responsibilities of caring for such a precious place. At the same time, pushing the boundaries of design and creativity.” 

For more information about Young Horticulturist of the Year, please visit here, and for more information on The Auckland Project, click here.