Gold medal award for local charity’s ‘Small Spaces Big Ideas Garden’ 

Coventry based horticultural charity Garden Organic has won a gold medal for its ‘Small Spaces, Big Ideas Garden’ at the Gardeners’ World Live show at the NEC. 

This petite garden demonstrates how a productive and beautiful organic and biodiverse garden can be created by all home gardeners, no matter how small their garden, yard or balcony.  The 5x5m space contains clever container ideas using vertical planting, raised beds and shelving and also incorporates a small pond, compost bins, mini greenhouse, hedgehog home and water saving ideas. Visitors to the garden loved the simple, sustainable ideas they could replicate at home, like the palette compost bin, complete with hedgehog highway, and the recycled plastic strawberry planters. 

The small plot garden has been designed and built by Garden Organic’s Head Gardener, Emma O’Neill, alongside the charity’s Head of Organic Horticulture and former Blue Peter gardener, Chris Collins. Emma is no stranger to designing gardens as she recently led the design and creation of the new organic demonstration and learning garden at Garden Organic’s Coventry headquarters, Ryton Gardens.  

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Emma said: “Chris and I are thrilled to receive this accolade, it’s a great endorsement of the whole team’s hard work and commitment to creating a garden that anyone can replicate in their own space, be it a small garden, backyard or balcony. 

Chris and Emma

“We have had great fun designing it and excited that we have also created a thriving habitat for biodiversity – with our small pond attracting birds, bees and hoverflies, our bog garden and insect hotel providing a home for toads and beetles and our hedgehog highway providing a home for our much loved spiky friends who are in great need of protection and conservation.”

Co designer Chris Collins is also a gardening veteran having worked for two Royal Botanic Gardens, the green space at Westminster Abbey and spent a nine-year stint as the Blue Peter Gardener.

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Chris said: “We are proud to have won this prestigious award. We never fail to learn new tricks and tips ourselves when creating a new garden, and Emma and I have also been delighted at the amount we can grow in this smallest of plots. Within the garden we have a 1mx1m veg patch, and we have shown in our demonstration garden at Ryton Gardens that with some clever succession planting we can produce an abundance of fresh organic veg and salad from this size patch!

“This garden also demonstrates that you don’t need to neglect the quality of your soil or health of your plants in a small plot as our petite garden contains a compost bin made of recycled pallets, a built-in comfrey feed drain to make your own organic fertiliser and a pipe to collect rainwater for reuse.”

If you missed the garden at the show, you can still access gardening tips and view an organic demonstration garden by booking a tour of Ryton Organic Gardens. Alternatively, you can book on a webinar or live workshop. For more information, visit:

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The judges at work

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Tony Flanagan
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