CASTLE Howard and York charity New Visuality are joining together to launch an art competition in response to the Photography of Country Gardens exhibition at the country house.

On February 17, Castle Howard welcomed a delegation of visitors from prestigious Chinese gardens. Earlier, last autumn, the Humble Administrator's Garden in the Chinese province of Suzhou had hosted a photographic exhibition displaying Castle Howard landscape and garden photography to explore parallels between British and Chinese gardens throughout the centuries.

The photographic boards displayed in China have been sent back to Castle Howard, leading to their display in a free exhibition until March 30 in Castle Howard's Courtyard Gallery.

In addition, York gallery According To McGee and its charitable arm, New Visuality, have been working with primary schoolchildren to create a collage in response to the photographs for display alongside the exhibition.

"We've worked with more than 190 young people who have created artwork based around the theme of what leisure activities can be enjoyed in Chinese and English gardens," says co-director Greg McGee. " Participating schools have included Our Lady Queen of Martyrs and Vale of York Academy."

Now, Castle Howard is inviting more young people to respond to the photo exhibition by launching an art competition for three age categories to send in a work of art, produced in any medium, in response to the provocation, "'Explore the similarities and differences of Western and Eastern pleasure gardens".

The three age categories are primary school, secondary school and higher education. Those interested should email digital copies of their entry, along with a short explanation, to by Saturday, April 13.

The winner from each age category will be awarded with an annual membership to Castle Howard and the chance to have their winning piece of work on display at According To McGee, in Tower Street. Entries will be judged by New Visuality's Ails McGee, the Honorable Nicholas Howard and Will Zhuang, Visit York's Chinese ambassador.

Ails says: "'It's a great opportunity for young people to visit the free exhibition at Castle Howard and produce a creative response to what they see. Both Castle Howard and its partner over in China, The Humble Administrator's Garden, are awe-inspiring places, with great natural beauty to be experienced. "We think there are many similarities and, of course, some key differences in the way in which Western and Eastern gardens are designed, but ultimately they are here for the pleasures of the general public and we think this poses a really broad challenge for young people to respond to.

"We can't wait to judge the entries, so pick up your paint brush, your pencils, your iPad, your clay, your recycled junk. Anything goes, as long as it's creative."

Cartoons of Country Gardens will be shown at According To McGee on April 13.

Charles Hutchinson