Winchester’s Garden of Senses receives Sparsholt College design makeover

Linda Stokes

The partnership between Sparsholt College Garden Design students and the Landscape and Open Spaces team at Winchester City Council continues to flourish with another of the city’s public areas to benefit from a design overhaul. FdSc Garden Design student Linda Stokes will see her creation for the Garden of Senses based in the Abbey Gardens take shape once the build and planting has been completed this Spring.

Six students submitted plans which were scrutinised and assessed by several Council Departments with the project being led by Coral Rogers, Landscape Project Officer and Linda Thomas, Landscape Architect at Winchester City Council. Commenting on the difficult task of choosing the winning design The Mayor of Winchester, the Right Worshipful, Cllr Ernest Jeffs, said: “This project is an excellent example of the City Council working with a local college to produce benefits for everyone. The students gain valuable experience of real-life design work and Winchester gains an imaginative new planting scheme. I am looking forward very much indeed to seeing the results which will be right beside my official residence at Abbey House.”

After much deliberation the work of Linda Stokes final year FdSc Garden Design student was chosen. The team at Winchester were particularly taken by Linda’s planting scheme and re-orientation to integrate this area of the park with the rest of the site incorporating some key vistas across the grounds. They were also impressed by the historical research and the recognition of the prestigious nature of the site next to the Mayor of Winchester’s official residence and being next to the main arrival point for visitors to the City.

Garden Design Courses Manager and Principal Lecturer Harry Mycock said: “All the students who entered the competition were really enthusiastic about working on such an important site and gaining from dealing with a “real-life” client. The experience and feedback from professionals from the City Council proved invaluable in being able to put learning into practice.”

Linda is now working with the Council to deliver her scheme which will transform a tired area in need of re-energising.

Since 2011 Winchester City Council and Sparsholt College Hampshire have worked together on several projects which has enabled Garden Design students the opportunity to create designs for a number of the city’s key gateways.

Sparsholt College offers both a Foundation Degree (FdSc) and a BSc (Hons) Degree is Garden Design. For more information please call 01962 776 441 or visit