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Chelsea gold for student Bevis as peat-bog exhibit wows crowds

University of Gloucestershire Landscape Architecture student, Bevis Hughes, has won a gold medal at his first RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

Bevis is studying for his Masters in Landscape Architecture degree while working at the Eden Project in Cornwall as a graduate Landscape Architect with Eden Project International Limited (EPIL).

He is part of the team that has designed an exhibit for RHS Chelsea crafted from a restored Cumbrian bog to show the benefits of going peat free; for your own garden and for the protection and restoration of UK peatlands.

Bevis said: “We had a special licence from Natural England to “borrow” 6.5 m2 of peat bog from Bolton Fell Moss National Nature Reserve in Cumbria to showcase this amazing habitat to the visitors to Chelsea Flower Show. It went down a storm with the public and the judges.”

The unique exhibit is designed by the Eden Project and presented in partnership with peat-free compost maker Dalefoot Composts. The aim of the exhibit is to demonstrate the importance of peat bogs and the environmental damage gardeners are causing to our planet by using peat compost in their outdoor spaces.

The timeline of a bog is illustrated in the RHS Chelsea exhibit to show the thousands of years peat represents. Peatlands only occupy about 3% of the Earth’s land surface but are the largest terrestrial carbon store on the planet.

“For peat’s sake, go peat free” stand GPA 105 in the Discovery Zone of the Great Pavilion.

In the Discovery Zone display at the show, gardeners are invited immerse themselves in Bolton Fell Moss National Nature Reserve (NNR). They can hear sounds from a peatland – curlews, lapwing, the hum of billions of insects and the occasional squelch – whilst getting up close to the fascinating bog plants – sphagnum mosses, cotton grass, cranberries, and heathers.

Bevis added: “With a professional background in landscape gardening, photographic production, and a personal interest in land use and the public realm, Landscape Architecture was a perfect subject for me to return to University. The range of complementary specialism that the teaching staff provided was key to the support of my interests and learning.

“I now have a new job as a landscape architect at the Eden project in Cornwall, working on developing new projects in the UK and around the world. The ambitions of each project carry the same motivation of the original Cornwall scheme, which aims to connect people with nature and each other as a means of championing ways to regenerate our local and global ecologies.

“It still feels like a dream to have been part of gold medal-winning team at my first ever Chelsea. The Landscape Architecture course at University of Gloucestershire has pushed my creative energy to its limits, and was instrumental in me securing an amazing job. I’d like to thank the amazing team who are supporting me to achieve my potential and ambitions.”