Regular visitors to the Abbey Gardens will have recognised a familiar face on Sunday evening’s BBC3 programme BBC Young Gardener of the Year.
Amy Bray, 24, Deputy Head Gardener at Woburn Abbey beat off competition from over a 1,000 entrants to reach the final four and is the only female finalist. Viewers will already know that Amy came third in the contest overall following a nail-biting finale in front of family, friends and judges Alex Denman, manager of Chelsea Flower Show and Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins.
The competition process started in August last year with many interview stages, auditions and challenges to test the entrants understanding and practical skills. Amy’s knowledge, friendly and calm manner under pressure and evident passion for gardening impressed the judges from the start and had been a favourite to win.
Amy is delighted to have taken part. She said: “I am over the moon to be a BBC Young Gardener finalist. It has been a great opportunity to showcase what I can do, challenge myself and learn from the experience too.” And what was the most difficult test? “The hardest thing had been keeping how far I got a secret!”
The television show searches for the UK’s top young talent in their trade and colleagues at Woburn Abbey knew Amy was guaranteed to go far:
“We are thrilled for Amy” said Gardens Manager Martin Towsey “She’s a great ambassador for gardening and for Woburn Abbey. The demand for her guided garden tours is bound to increase; but we won’t let her success go to her head, she’s still on the tea rota!”
Amy’s current projects are the addition of a children’s garden within the Abbey Gardens and revitalising the rockery with an oriental style under-cover viewing platform, both working to original designs over 200 years old. Visitors are encouraged to chat with the Abbey Gardeners on their visit to find out more about what they’re working on and seasonal developments. Already popular with visitors, it is hoped Amy’s new status will give confidence to people to quiz her on their own gardening problems and share their success stories too.
For more information, visit the Abbey website or call 01525 290333