During the morning of Chelsea Flower Show Press day 20th May we were approached by Mrs Owen-Hughes, mother of Toby and a crew of two from their local BBC radio seeking permission to interview Toby in front of one of our greenhouses
It transpired that Toby was a finalist and the runner up of the RHS School Gardener of the Year competition. After chatting to him for a few minutes it was obvious Toby was hugely disappointed not to have won anything this year. He appeared to be a very nice boy and an avid grower for his age.
We decided to give him a Patio glasshouse, to encourage him to continue growing and to give him the opportunity to grow all year round. The only thing that we asked for in return was for Toby to stay in contact and let us know how he was getting on. Both Toby and his mum were delighted. Toby chose a colour and soon after Chelsea we manufactured his special greenhouse and delivered it to his home.
Toby previously won the RHS Young School Gardener of the year competition in 2012 for his age category (Key Stage 1) he was 6 years old at the time. His school entered him because they had got soaked every week at gardening club that year, and hoped to win the overall prize to provide a shelter for their newly constructed Jubilee Garden.
After winning his age group Toby was invited to RHS Harlow Carr to take part in a conference for school teachers to encourage more gardening in schools. After this, he was invited to Chelsea Flower Show.
Toby’s mum wrote to us on June 27th, enclosing a few images:
“To the whole team at Hartley,
“Thank you all SO much for your incredibly generous gift to Toby. I hope you can see from the pictures how thrilled he was today when he came home from school. He dodged raindrops to transfer his plants onto the shelves, and has already ransacked the seed box to start a fresh batch of late sowing this weekend.
“He went to bed shivering with joy, and has realised that the security light outside illuminates his glasshouse at night, and he can look down at his plants from his bedroom window. He has instructed us that the shed needs to match his glasshouse, as it is not smart enough, so we will send you pictures again once it is renovated.
“Toby has sown some gherkin seeds last week, and has asked me to take a cutting of an Aeonium to add to his succulent collection (cacti, aloe, agave, venus fly trap called Clarence!).
“Thank you Sarah & Richard”