A LEADING designer's space-themed garden has impressed the judges at a renowned flower show.

Didcot-based Julie Bellingham won silver for her 'Redshift Garden' at the Royal Horticultural Society's Malvern Spring Festival at the weekend.

A former physicist, Ms Bellingham retrained as a garden designer and teamed up with local experts to create the garden which brought together her love of science and horticulture.

The owner of Rockhopper Garden Design said she was 'super pleased' to get a medal for her first ever show garden.

Oxford Mail:

She teamed up with J Drewe Landscaping and Maintenance from East Hagbourne to create the colourful garden which was inspired by light travelling across the universe.

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It also featured sculptures influenced by space and telescopes made by Wallingford metalworker, Julie Grose and was finished with benches designed by Factory Furniture, based in Faringdon.

The show, held at the Three Counties Showground in Malvern, Worcestershire, is the largest RHS event outside of London and marks the start of the season which also includes the famous Chelsea Flower Show, which starts on May 21.

Ms Bellingham was one of 13 designers to win a medal at the festival, including the first ever RHS gold medal for a Ukrainian, Anna Galagan, for her garden, The Mindset.

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Head of shows, Diana Walton, said: “We're delighted to be announcing such a great set of results this year, especially with six highly-coveted gold medals and the world’s first ever RHS gold for a Ukrainian designer.

"It's always very tense for our garden designers when the RHS judges are here making their decisions, as they put so much heart and soul into their designs - not to mention time and effort."

During the duration of the festival, the Redshift Garden was manned by astrophysicists who were explaining the science behind it to onlookers.

It celebrated how telescopes have helped to develop an understanding of the universe.

Oxford Mail:

The plants moved from yellows through to oranges and reds, representing the astronomical Red Shift – or the fact that when observed, galaxies that are moving away from earth appear more red.

Colourful geums, iris were interspersed with swathes of dark plants including aquilegias to represent dark matter.

There was also a space to sit, representing earth, with surrounding sculptures depicting ground and space telescopes.

Meanwhile, Oxford-based florist Zoe Rowlinson, has made it through to the national final of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Chelsea Florist of the Year competition.

The 24-year-old, who currently works at Fabulous Flowers in Banbury Road will be competing in the RHS Young Chelsea Florist of the Year competition.

Her brief for the final is to create a floral crown to celebrate Queen Victoria’s 200th birthday.

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The student, who studies at Moreton Morrell College in Warwickshire, has previously won two bronze medals at Chelsea.

She started studying floristry at level 2 aged 16 and has now progressed onto her level 5 master diploma of professional floristry, the highest qualification within the industry in the UK.