Sheffield woman designs garden at Chelsea Flower Show

Tracy Foster in the Welcome to Yorkshire garden she designed for the Chelsea Flower Show
Tracy Foster in the Welcome to Yorkshire garden she designed for the Chelsea Flower Show
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Growing up as a little girl in Fretson Green, Tracy Cann didn't know what a garden designer was, but she did know that plants and flowers were her passion.

At the age of four Tracy started working on a patch of her parents' garden. That patch grew and before long she was turning her hand to tending the entire outdoor space - with only the lawn being kept in check by her dad, who wouldn't let his daughter use the mower.

The Welcome to Yorkshire garden

The Welcome to Yorkshire garden

At 54, that little girl is now Tracy Foster, and she is the designer behind this year's Welcome to Yorkshire garden at the Royal Horticultural Society's Chelsea Flower Show.

It is the third time Tracy has designed a garden for the famous flower show, but it is the first time she has exhibited on the main avenue.

Visited by thousands over the past week, the garden was inspired by the rugged coastline near Flamborough and Filey and the fishing industry of God's Own County.

But while the wild flowers, Yorkshire stone, pebbled beach and fishing boat of the garden all exude flavour of the coast, Tracy adds a little bit of Sheffield to the scene thanks to the seeds of interest in gardening that were sowed while growing up as a youngster in the Steel City.

She said: "I used to go to my friend's house and talk to her mum about plants.

"All the rest of my friends would be upstairs getting ready to go out and I would be in the garden talking to her mum. It was just a real interest of mine."

Tracy, who grew up in Freston Green and later Lodge Moor, went to Tapton Secondary School before studying plant biology at Newcastle University.

After a brief career in IT Tracy followed her heart and retrained as a garden designer. She now lives in Leeds and runs her own garden design company.

She said it was a huge honour to be designing gardens on behalf of the county, adding: "As a Sheffield girl the coastline of Filey and Flamborough are close to my heart.

"We used to go there for caravan holidays and it's part of the world that lots of people from Sheffield will be familiar with."

And she said the highlight of the event would be showing her 84-year-old mum, Doreen Cann, who still lives in Sheffield, around the glorious garden.

"I can't wait for her to come and see it, it's a long way for her to come and I am really looking forward to showing it to her," she said.

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show runs until Sunday May 27. Visit www.rhs.org.uk for more information about the show.