Children end up taking responsibility for nurturing their own plants
It hasn’t all been plain sailing though. At the beginning, we struggled to get some of the staff on board, due to concerns that behavioural issues would worsen – because if they couldn’t trust the children in the classroom, wouldn’t they be worse outside? But once those teachers started making use of the garden there was recognisable behaviour change in those pupils. The children worked as a team, were engaged in their tasks, and took responsibility for nurturing the plants.
Search starts for school gardeners of the year The search is about to start for the most inspirational young gardeners, educators and gardening teams in schools. Prizes for ﬁnalists and winners in 2018 include a Gabriel Ash greenhouse worth £3,425, Gabriel Ash Coldframes, £500 in vouchers, garden tools and unique opportunities to work with RHS and TV gardeners. There are three categories:
YOUNG GARDENER OF THE YEAR An award for a young person, aged between ﬁve and16, who demonstrates a passion for gardening, has made an outstanding contribution to their school and local community and shows invaluable gardening skills. Nominees must be in attendance at a school registered to the RHS Campaign for School Gardening registered school or group. 42
We needed to think about funding, too. We’ve had to ﬁnd money from the school fund for a full-time gardener – paid at the support staff rate, he’s employed all year round to plan and deliver lessons with the teachers. We also decided to enlist the help of a landscape architect, and we were lucky enough to have a school fundraiser to make this happen. Of course, there are other ways of doing it. Others have opted to build their gardens in local allotments and tap into the talents of the dedicated, local community. Community, in its various guises, is a big thing for us. Produce from the garden is sold in the school shop, run by the children on weekdays. We’ve also begun selling produce, such as tomatoes, potatoes, eggs and honey (from our chickens and beehives) to parents and others, and radishes, mint, honey and green salad to a local restaurant helping us to channel funds back into the garden. The extra funding has helped us to buy resources such as garden tools, bigger, costlier plants such as fruit trees and other basic materials to create things like raised beds.
GARDENING TEAM OF THE YEAR An award for an outstanding gardening team that has made a difference to their school environment. The winning group will be one that shares a passion for gardening and displays excellent teamwork.
GARDENING CHAMPION OF THE YEAR An award for an adult at a school (teacher, gardening club leader, volunteer etc.) who is an inspiration to the pupils they teach and has shown a passion for encouraging gardening in their school, as well as linking gardening to the curriculum. Applications must be submitted by 5pm on Wednesday 25th April, via the RHS website www.schoolgardening.rhs.org.uk
The April 2018 issue of Devon Country Gardener Magazine