Sandringham Flower Show helps Norwich garden designer change career

Matt Hughes is making a show garden at this year's Sandringham Flower Show. Picture: Ian Burt

Matt Hughes is making a show garden at this year's Sandringham Flower Show. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Sandringham Flower Show officials have sponsored a gardener who hopes to make a career change from IT to becoming a full-time designer.

Matt Hughes is making a show garden at this year's Sandringham Flower Show. Picture: Ian Burt

Matt Hughes is making a show garden at this year's Sandringham Flower Show. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

They have given Matt Hughes, from Thorpe St Andrew, a £1,000 contribution towards his entry at this year's event.

Mr Hughes, 35, currently works in IT at a school in Bungay. But he hopes to move into gardening, after deciding he prefers the outdoor life.

Mr Hughes won a Silver Gilt at last year's Sandringham show, with a garden he funded himself to the tune of £3,000.

He was inspired by a talk from garden guru James Wong, at Easton College, where he has completed a City and Guilds in garden design.

Matt Hughes is making a show garden at this year's Sandringham Flower Show. Picture: Ian Burt

Matt Hughes is making a show garden at this year's Sandringham Flower Show. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt


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'I spoke to him afterwards and he said 'just go for it', so I went for it,' he said. 'I'm trying to move industries, I'm trying to move into garden design.'

Mr Hughes will be building a garden evoking the journey of someone with mental health problems along the road to recovery at this year's show.

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It will promote the work of Norwich-based charity Leeway and is co-sponsored by Norwich-based plastics company UCP.

'I'll be nervous, because this garden's far more complex than last year's,' he said.

Materials are being supplied by Urban Jungle, of Norwich; Rolling Stone Paving, from Diss; Cumbria-based scultress Michelle Castles, and Jasmine Nurseries, from Wisbech.

Flower show chairman David Reeve said he hoped that the sponsorship would help Mr Hughes with his career change.

'It's the second year we've done this because we feel the future of the flower show lies in the youth of today,' he said

'It's such a competitive world and an expensive business to get into, we hope this will give youngsters a leg-up to make a start.'

This year's show is being held on the Royal Estate at Sandringham on Wednesday, July 29. More than 20,000 usually attend the event, which is one of the biggest of its kind in the country, including Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.

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