This year, we have been thrilled to sponsor the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) School Gardeners of the Year competition. The competition shines a light on the many benefits of school gardening, from learning to improved health and wellbeing and, today, the winners have been announced!
We will be awarding the competition’s main winners Hartley Botanic Greenhouses, to enable the children to foster their gardening skills throughout the year – and whatever the weather!
City schools have swept the board in this year’s Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) School Gardeners of the Year competition, winning all three categories – Young School Gardener, School Gardening Team and School Gardening Champion of the Year – and hammering home the many benefits of gardening, particularly food growing, in urban areas.
The year’s winners chosen by a panel of judges from over 200 nominations are:
- RHS Young School Gardener of the Year 2019: William Rae, age 11, Edinburgh Academy Junior School, Edinburgh
Growing everything from radishes to rhubarb, knowledgeable young gardener William enjoys sharing his love of gardening with his schoolmates; instigating a garlic growing competition and mentoring his fellow pupils. In addition to spending a huge amount of time in the school garden, William also recognises the wider environmental benefits of growing your own such as cutting down on plastic packaging and food miles.
- RHS School Gardening Champion of the Year 2019: Michelle Jones, a parent volunteer at Ashmount Primary School, Crouch Hill, London
‘Mum on a mission’ Michelle is passionate about teaching children where food comes from and is the driving force behind a flourishing school gardening club that has got 50 families on board to grow food in the school grounds. Families now flock to Michelle’s weekly gardening sessions, many of whom don’t have gardens at home, and the school grounds are bursting with fresh fruit and vegetables for the whole school to enjoy.
- RHS School Gardening Team of the Year 2019: Springhallow School, Ealing, London
The team of nine aged between 12 and 16 from Springhallow, a school for young people with autism, have worked together to create a beautiful and productive garden from scratch; challenging themselves to try new foods and supplying edible flowers to a new school café. Gardening has also helped boost the team’s confidence, social and communication skills.
Springhallow School, the winning School Gardening Team will take delivery of one of our award-winning, handmade Greenhouses worth up to £10,000, while William and Michelle both win handmade Hartley Botanic Patio Glasshouses for their schools.
Tom Barry, Managing Director of Hartley Botanic said; “A big congratulations are in order for the winning pupils! We are delighted to be able to facilitate these budding gardeners to practice and develop their gardening skills whatever the weather with our handmade Greenhouses. We hope, as well as using them to escape the rain, they use them to try their hand at more exotic plant species.”
Alana Cama, RHS Skills Development Manager said: “We know that growing crops is the most popular school gardening activity but I was impressed by how these city schools have really embraced it to inspire themselves and others – from getting parents involved to inspiring their peers and incentivising them to push their own boundaries.”
The winners and finalists of the Young School Gardener and School Gardening Champion of the Year categories will attend an awards ceremony at RHS Garden Wisley, Surrey, on Saturday 22nd June to accept their awards from competition judge and TV gardening expert, Frances Tophill, who appears on BBC Gardeners’ World and ITV’s Love Your Garden.
The RHS School Gardeners of the Year competition forms part of the RHS Campaign for School Gardening which provides free resources and advice to over 38,000 schools and groups across the UK: www.rhs.org.uk/schoolgardening