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Platinum plant prize

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By Joseph Gartly
Annan and Eskdale
Platinum plant prize

A GARDENER from the region who battles the elements on a daily basis to protect her plants has won a prestigious horticulture award.

Helen Knowles, 43, of Tinnisburn near Canonbie, scooped a Platinum prize at the Gardeners World Live show last month for her collection of hardy perennials.
Also this year she picked up a gold award at the Malvern Spring Festival.
And the successes are all the more remarkable, given the remote location of her Tinnisburn Plants nursery at Upper Millsteads, eight miles from Langholm and 600 foot above sea level.
Helen said: “These events are not a competition as such, but more a display in the hope of gaining a good reputation.
“I gained a platinum, and it is hard enough to get silver, so this is very good.
“I cannot think of anyone else in my category that got a platinum, and the only step up from this award is best in show, which is the ambition.”
The Gardeners’ World Live was held on June 15 at the National Exhibition Centre in Marston Green.
The platinum award was only recently introduced when the show changed from being a Royal Horticultural Society event.
Helen worked hard to ensure her style of mixed herbaceous plants caught the judges’ eye and stood out over the larger, more colourful, entries.
She said: “For me getting the sizes and display right for the judges is a challenge.
“You have to learn what they like to see and go around that.
“Everything is then under scrutiny, there cannot be any holes in the leaves or any browning and no flowers out of place, that sort of thing.”
Helen has now been competing for seven years and has grown an extensive array of alpines, shrubs and perennials at her hilltop home, which has previously featured on the Gardener’s World TV show.
She hopes to continue her success in future competitions and will next be at RHS Flower Show Tatton Park later this month.


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