Many were inspired by rainbows, lockdown, the NHS, rockets, pirates and bugs, including the winner of the 7–11 category, Evelyn Nicol. Her Furzey Hospital design was decorated with a rainbow as a tribute to the work of the NHS in the coronavirus. It has already been transformed into a new fairy door for Furzey Gardens’ famous collection and will be installed in the garden for the fairies to enjoy.
Seven-year-old Evelyn said, “I chose to do the fairy rainbow hospital because at the moment people are putting lots of rainbows up in windows, and rainbows are a sign of hope.”
The winners in the 6 & Under category were three-year-old Autumn Cross for her Autumn Forest Hide – a safe place for hedgehogs to hide, and six-year-old Finlay Guppy for The Bug Vet – his vet’s practice for the bugs in the garden.
All the winners will receive a year’s family membership to visit the gardens once they are able to reopen. The winning designs are also being used to inspire three new fairy doors to be situated in the gardens, with Furzey Hospital already complete.
Autumn’s mother, Hayley Harvey-Cross, said, “Autumn is so happy to have won and mummy is feeling very proud too. This is a lovely bit of news for us during a challenging time. Gestures like these mean everything.
“We can’t wait to be able to use our pass to check on all the fairies once Furzey is open again. And we will be excited to see what elements of Autumn’s door are brought to life. We will be sure to make use of your lovely café to show our support so that you can keep doing the great work that you do.”
Furzey Gardens is currently closed in line with the coronavirus outbreak guidelines, but has long been popular with families with young children for its charming trail of more than 40 doors hidden within the informal 10-acre woodland garden.
This winter a number of doors were renovated and new ones added, meaning there are now more doors to discover than ever before.
Furzey Gardens is part of Minstead Trust, a charity supporting people with learning disabilities to live more independent and fulfilled lives. People with learning disabilities work in the tea rooms, help to maintain the gardens and raise plants for sale in the nursery, learning key skills in the process.
The next competition for Under 11s will be to design their own secret gardens, it will launch in the week of 11 May. Visit www.facebook.com/furzeygardens
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