A BROMSGROVE man had cause for a double celebration last week after collecting his MBE from Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace and seeing a garden he was responsible for scoop a gold award at the Chelsea Flower Show.
Darren Share is the Birmingham City Council’s head of parks and, having worked for the authority for 30 years. After leaving school and joining as an apprentice, he now heads up a 300-strong parks team and is responsible for all the Second City’s green spaces.
Darren lives in Bromsgrove with his wife Melanie and his three children, Chloe, 18, Joseph, 15 and Jacob, 11.
Darren, his wife, his mum and two of his children travelled down to the palace to collect the award.
The award-winning garden came about after a conversation between Darren and micro-sculptor Willard Wigan.
Willard is based in Birmingham and creates sculptures so tiny they can fit in the eyes of sewing needles.
The plot was themed on activities people are able to do in parks and other open spaces.
Some of the representative figures were based on Willard’s creations – for example one of a horse to represent riding, one of a see-saw to show a children’s play area and one of a pair of trainers.
Viewers could see the images in the eyes of needles and then look up to see the bigger versions incorporated into the garden.
There was also a conservation area to represent gardening as a form of exercise.
The show gardens at Chelsea are judged on three criteria – plants used, the impact and design and endeavour – with four marks on offer for each one.
The Birmingham City Council garden got a maximum 12 marks from all the judges.
That unanimous decision also saw the garden short-listed for ‘Best in Show’.
There was another local link as well because all of the plants used in the garden were grown at the nursery in Cofton Park.
Darren told The Standard: “It was a bit of a whirlwind week.
“It was great to win gold at Chelsea and fantastic to meet Prince Charles.
“He’s renowned for his interest in the environment and green spaces and he was asking about the green spaces we have in Birmingham.”