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Ashington amateur garden designer Sean Murray an early favourite in BBC Two contest; Sean took an early lead in the Great Chelsea Garden Challenge, claiming Judges Gold for 'cottage gardens' last night, and is back for more at 8pm.

Byline: Adam Luke

An amateur garden designer from Northumberland has been impressing in a green fingered BBC Two talent show.

Sean Murray, from Ashington, has emerged as an early favourite in the Great Chelsea Garden Challenge after winning the Judges Gold award for episode one on Monday night.

The 51-year-old began the short series as one of six gardeners battling it out for the chance to design and build a garden feature on Main Avenue at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

After coming out on top in the 'cottage gardens' challenge, the occupational health advisor and nurse will appear on the channel at 8pm on Tuesday to take on 'formal gardens', before 'conceptual gardens' on Wednesday, and Thursday's final which will see the remaining three contestants face off following previous nightly eliminations.

In partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), the competitors are mentored by Joe Swift, of Gardener's World, as they build show gardens with limited time and resources for RHS judge James Alexander Sinclair and award-winning garden designer Ann-Marie Powell.

Viewers will be able to follow the progress of Thursday's champion during the BBC's RHS Chelsea Flower Show coverage between Tuesday, May 19, and the following Saturday.

Self-taught Sean Murray, who lives with wife Eileen and 21 year-old daughter Ellen, was praised on Monday at RHS garden Harlow Carr in Harrogate for demonstrating horticultural knowledge, design skill and a sense of theatre in his cottage garden.

He said: "Gardening has been a lifelong interest. Viewers will hopefully be able to pick up ideas from some very creative gardeners which can inspire their own projects."

After 41-year-old lawyer Jo Manfredi-Hamer's elimination on Monday, Sean's remaining competition includes 51-year-old former soldier Gillian Potts, Londoner Paul Harris, 35-year-old botanist Rob Dawson, and Cambridgeshire's Steph Humes, aged just 23.

The Judges Gold is up for grabs at the end of each episode, with Thursday's award signalling overall victory.

Elsewhere at the prestigious RHS Chelsea Flower Show, County Durham firm Moorland Rugs will show a rug inspired by a priceless watercolour for the first time.

Tulipa Orange Parrot is one of seven designs drawn from the vaults of the RHS Lindley Library in London, and depicts work the renowned German painter August Wilhelm Sievert.

To celebrate the show, Moorland Rugs have also commissioned a rug featuring the Chelsea Flower Show's heliotrope symbol, which will be available as a bespoke item.

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Publication:The Chronicle (Newscastle upon Tyne, England)
Date:May 12, 2015
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