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University Centre Shrewsbury (UCS) has won the top accolade for its garden at this year’s prestigious town Flower Show.

The institution was awarded the Mike Hough Memorial Trophy for the Best External Garden this week at Shrewsbury Flower Show, as well as a large gold medal, after creating the plot entitled ‘Home Grown’.

The plot embraces the Shropshire Horticultural Society’s show garden theme of ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ and celebrates:

  • the ecological sustainability of the traditional potager garden;
  • the cultural sustainability and future aspirations of its sponsor;
  • the county’s political and economic sustainability, summarised by the civic motto Floreat Salopia (‘May Shropshire Flourish’) and
  • the longest reign of any British monarch.

The garden has been created with a planting scheme of predominantly red, white and blue flowers, vegetables and herbs, with a rustic fence, bisected by red stone paving, representing the Cross of St George which forms part of the crests of UCS and its founding organisation, (with Shropshire Council), the University of Chester.

It also features artisan reproductions of heraldic ‘loggerheads’ (leopards’ heads), inspired by the municipal coat of arms and the University Centre’s shield. A bay tree centrepiece has been installed to signify ‘glory’ in the Language of Flowers, while flowers have been chosen to symbolise ‘faith’, ‘hope’ and ‘wisdom’.’

The backdrop of the iconic Rowley’s House firmly places the garden in Shrewsbury, a building which would have been familiar to Rowton-born Puritan Minister Richard Baxter, who first mooted the idea of a university for the town. Four centuries later, and this year, as HM Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday is marked, the garden looks to represent the vision of ‘home grown’ higher education now being realised.

UCS has also set up a trade stand at the show at Shrewsbury Quarry, for visitors to discover more about how they can get involved in UCS life, from studying at the institution to enjoying the ongoing programme of public events.

Professor Anna Sutton, Provost of UCS said: “We are thrilled to win the Best External Garden Award, as well as a large gold medal.

“A special thanks goes to the designer, Estates and Facilities, Corporate Communications and Graphic Services at the University of Chester, who have contributed their time, ideas and enthusiasm to the creation of the garden.

“University Centre Shrewsbury has been established as part of the community and being part of such special events in the town calendar is important to us. I attend the Flower Show every year and enjoy it very much, while this is the University Centre’s third year at the Show. It is a real honour to be involved with one of the premier flower show events in the country.”

Angela Bell, who designed the garden said: “I grew up with a mother, who loved her plants, and a father, whose lawn would have impressed the MCC (at Lord’s Cricket Ground); I naturally could not fail to have an interest in gardening. Having worked as a graphic designer for many years at the University of Chester I was delighted to be asked to combine the two by designing this garden for the Shrewsbury Flower Show, an opportunity that does not come along every day.”

UCS is a distinctive institution, focused on high-quality teaching and research, fostering entrepreneurship and contributing to the community.

The institution offers a wide choice of courses and a range of facilities at the main learning and research site at Guildhall in Frankwell Quay, at the historic Rowley’s House, and its student accommodation at nearby Mardol House.

To find out more about UCS go to, call 01743 297185 or email

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