STUDENTS are celebrating a hat-trick of floral successes after winning through to the finals of a national landscaping competition.

The horticulture department at Askham Bryan College, near York, took the honours in the regional round of the Landscape Skills competition and will now go forward to the national final in September.

If they are successful there, they will represent the UK in the 2007 World Skills Contest, in Japan.

To win the award, the students had to follow a brief to create a 6 x 5 metre landscaped garden over a six-and-a-half-hour period. They beat three other colleges to take the top award.

Askham Bryan's lecturer in landscape construction, Harry Turner, said: "This is a major achievement. The competition is structured to mirror a real commercial brief, so the students had to work to a given plan.

"It is extremely challenging and one of the benefits is that it shows the importance of working as a team and to a professional specification."

The horticulture department previously won gold and silver awards at the 2005 Harrogate Spring Flower Show.