Ann-Marie Powell: You're not competing against other designers at Chelsea, you’re competing against yourself

You can start by competing at one of the smaller shows and build up your confidence that way

 

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There aren’t enough women competing at the show - it would be wonderful to have more. I can’t understand why there aren’t more women competing to get one of the awards that so many men have won.

Women perhaps don’t feel like they have enough confidence to apply for sponsorship.

I just let the RHS know that I wanted to exhibit. I let them look at my drawings so they knew I was hungry and wanted to do gardens. Then you spring to mind when sponsors get in touch.

You’re not competing against other designers at Chelsea, you’re competing against yourself – you’re judged based on the brief of what you set out to do. You’re not competing against the garden next to you.

Sponsors should also seek out women to build show gardens. We need more girls to hang out with.

You can start by competing at one of the smaller shows and build up your confidence that way. Doing show gardens is so addictive - as soon as you start you can’t stop.

There was an even split of men and women on The Great Chelsea Garden Challenge. I really wanted to have a woman in the final but their designs just weren’t strong enough. I would never positively discriminate because that is so patronising. I would like nothing more than to see a woman win if we get commissioned for another series next year but the right man won.

Ann-Marie Powell is an RHS Gold Medal show garden designer. She was also a judge on the BBC’s Great Chelsea Garden Challenge, which saw six amateur garden designers compete to build a garden at the Chelsea Flower Show

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