GARDEN designer Sadie May Stowell bloomed at her first Chelsea Flower Show, being awarded a silver-gilt medal for her Viking Cruises Norse Garden, only one level below gold. "I am really, really pleased," she said. "Hopefully this will be a platform for me to go on and design even more gardens, especially at Chelsea."

The 33-year-old, whose parents live at Whitbourne, near Bromyard, received assistance from Hereford Cathedral’s head stonemason Simon Hudson, as she created a garden to capture the essence of the Viking age and offer visitors to the UK's top flower show a glimpse into the sense of history and adventure inherent to the Vikings.

Pools of rippling water nestled among stones carved with Viking runic symbols, which provided a network of stepping-stones to the central feature – the prow of a Viking

ship. The task of carving the rune stones was down to Mr Hudson The runes represented the story of a journey and were carved in blocks of local sandstone.

The Chelsea award was the latest accolade for Miss Stowell, who was brought up in Cradley, near Malvern and attended the local primary school and Dyson Perrins CE

Academy, Malvern, before studying fine art at Worcester College of Technology. She then went to Pershore College to study garden design and came to public attention in 2005 when she was the overall winner of Channel 4’s Great Garden Challenge.