Nottinghamshire Prison Scoops National Gardening Award

Monday 7 September 2015

RHS President hails record-breaking gardening team

A Nottinghamshire prison has won the coveted Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Windlesham Trophy for the best prison garden in England and Wales.

HMP Whatton, a Category C facility, won the award for a record seventh time, making it the most successful prison in the competition’s 31 year history. Whatton last lifted the trophy in 2013.

Royal Horticultural President Sir Nicholas Bacon presented the trophy, a specially engraved Green Goddess fire engine bell, to Whatton prisoners and staff during a special ceremony at the prison on 3 September 2015. Chief Executive of the National Offenders Management Service Michael Spur presented individual commendations to staff from prisons across the country in recognition of their horticultural achievement.

Competition judge Robert Haslam praised HMP Whatton for its expert use of colour, a skill that saw it edge ahead of runner-up Parc (G4S), the first privately run prison to reach the final stages of the competition, Maidstone prison (third) and fourth-placed Albany prison on the Isle of Wight.

Wildlife and environmental considerations were incorporated into the 30 acre garden at Whatton that boasts mixed borders of begonias, Cleome, Miscanthus, Nicotiana, Stipa and Phormium. A star-shaped area of meadow grass provided a valuable habitat for birds and invertebrates.

A Japanese-themed garden, made from recycled materials, including bridges, stone lanterns, gravel and cobbles, was praised for being entirely believable. The judges did however note that although the plants had a long way to go before they assumed their correct proportions, the scene setting was delivered with considerable skill.

The important role gardening plays in the rehabilitation of offenders was outlined by HMP Whatton Governor Lynn Saunders who said: "Whatton staff and prisoners are delighted to be winners of the 2015 Windlesham Trophy competition.

“As a specialist treatment site it is important for us to create a pleasant and calming environment for our staff to work, and our prisoners to live in. This is an important factor in our rehabilitative culture and our overarching objective to ‘Prevent another Victim’.

“I am pleased that the judges have recognised the hard work, commitment and achievement of the gardens team, both prisoners and staff, by this award."

HMP Whatton, which houses vulnerable inmates, previously won the Windlesham Trophy in 1993, 1994, 1995, 2002, 2012 and 2013.


Notes to editors

For more information, please contact Garfield Myrie in the RHS Press Office on 020 7821 3060 or email

About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood to inspire passion and excellence in the science, art and practice of horticulture. Our vision is to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener, healthier, happier and more beautiful place. We believe everyone in every village, town and city should benefit from growing plants to enhance lives, build stronger, healthier, happier communities and create better places to live.

We held our first flower shows in 1820, were granted a Royal Charter in 1861 and acquired RHS Garden Wisley, our flagship garden, in 1903. From our first meetings in a small room off London’s Piccadilly, we have grown to become the world’s largest gardening charity. At our gardens and shows and through our scientific research, publications, libraries and our education and community programmes we inspire a passion for gardening and growing plants, promote the value of gardens, demonstrate how gardening is good for us and explain the vital roles that plants undertake.

The RHS is committed to bring the joy of gardening to millions more people, inspire the next generation of gardeners and invest in the future to safeguard a £10.4 billion industry employing over 300,000 people. We are entirely funded by our members, visitors and supporters. RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and help us secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 020 3176 5820, or visit  

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262

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About the RHS

The RHS believes that gardening improves the quality of life and that everyone should have access to great garden experiences. As a charity we help to bring gardening into people's lives and support gardeners of all levels and abilities; whether they are expert horticulturists or children who are planting seeds for the very first time.

RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 0845 130 4646, or visit

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262