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awarded silver

For a second time, Stephen Woodhams, the enfant terrible of landscape gardening has won a medal at the Chelsea Flower Show.

The Royal Horticultural Society recognised in Sally Clarke's Kitchen Garden both continuity and evolution from Stephen's first award-winner, the 1994 entry Mr Maidment's Garden, a long neglected Victorian garden, found by Stephen in Dorset.

"We have entered twice as a team, and we've won twice!" says a jubilant Stephen. "Yardley and YOU have been wonderful. They have supported me and encouraged me to be different and I believe it's because my gardens tell a story that they are a success at Chelsea. Both of my entries were based on real people, but Sally's garden was a more contemporary approach to a city garden, whereas Mr Maidment's was a nostalgic rural idyll."

Dee Nolan, Editor of YOU Magazine, which co-sponsored Stephen with Yardley, says "Stephen manages to combine extreme beauty with a backbone of practicality. Sally Clarke's Kitchen Garden is a working space for a busy chef, but also an environment in which she can relax: a haven of nature in a dynamic city like London."

Dee also had to take into consideration the YOU readers and what the garden had to offer them. "It says, 'You may not have much time with the pace of life today, but there are simple and effective ways to make your garden work for you, and bring you immense pleasure."

The Yardley association really joined this talented and enthusiastic circle. "Stephen was inspired by some of the notes in the now famous Yardley English Lavender, and our newest fragrance White Lavender," says Richard Finn, managing director. "Also, Yardley is a truly English fragrance and cosmetic company, with as strong a link to the London metropolitan scene as it has to the rural environment, so the Garden's theme made great sense to us."

"Yardley was a crucial part of the design team," adds Stephen, "Because they encouraged me to experiment with certain plants and flowers, and indeed colour schemes, which I had not had the opportunity to use before."

The inspiration for Stephen's garden was restaurateur Sally Clarke. Chef and founder of Clarke's in London, Sally plans her menus around each season and insists on using only the produce that thrives in that particular season. She is also adamant that freshly-grown ingredients, bought daily from her team of small independent suppliers, should be served at Clarke's.

"I am delighted for Stephen, Yardley and YOU," says Sally, "and rather pleased with myself that the idea was hatched over lunch at Clarke's. I had told Stephen that the ideal kitchen garden would be one in which I could grow my own herbs, pick them each morning, and plan my menu around them. Stephen has realised that dream at the Chelsea Flower Show this year."

Sally is also keen to use flowers and plants in her favourite recipes, "So the lavender inspired by Yardley is functional in my cooking, as well as looking beautiful in the garden. My Lavender Shortbread is a winner!".

Any rumours of third time lucky for the winning team? Stephen says "You'll have to wait and see!".

Notes to editors:

Pictures to accompany this release are being transmitted over the PA circuit and will be available on the Bulletin Board. One is of Men Behaving Badly stars Martin Clunes and Neil Morrissey in the garden, the other is of Stephen Woodhams, Sally Clarke, Dee Nolan and Richard Finn. There is no charge for using the pictures or the copy.

Watch out for Network First, ITV's prestigious documentary series, in the autumn. Hartswood Films (which gave you Men Behaving Badly) has charted the progress of Stephen Woodham's creation of Sally Clarke's Kitchen Garden from blueprint to completion. It's fascinating insight into the scope of work involved behind the scenes in bringing a garden to the Chelsea Flower Show.


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