Chris Collins, Head of Organic Horticulture at Garden Organic, and former BBC Blue Peter gardener has been inspiring the next generation of gardening talent as they prepare for the 2018 RHS Malvern Spring Festival (May 10-13).
The popular gardening enthusiast was at the Three Counties Showground in Malvern yesterday taking pupils through a series of workshops to help them grow big ideas for their own unique school garden displays. He was joined by experts from the Royal Horticultural Society, sponsor BAM Construction and Warwickshire College as they guided youngsters on plants, design and landscaping.
The school garden theme for 2018 is ‘Great Britain’ and pupils are working towards telling the story of an amazing person, group, event or invention that has helped modern Britain what it is today. Author Beatrix Potter, incredible engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel local history have captured young gardeners’ imaginations as a starting point for their designs.
But it’s not just those at the workshops who can get involved, there is still plenty of room for schools from across the UK to take part. The challenge is open to a single class or whole school and includes primary, middle and secondary schools as well as the home educated.
Last year Bromsgrove School took on the challenge. Forest School leader Sam Dakin said: “This project was the most amazing process from working with the pupils, to formulating a design, to planting, to making the structures and interacting with the public. The satisfaction of what we achieved has been overwhelming and the experience will remain with me for a long time.”
This year schools said the workshops were a fantastic way to get their pupils excited about gardening and to help them learn about planning and preparation.
The School Gardens Challenge is supported by BAM Construction and seeks to immerse young people in the vibrant world of horticulture. Horticulture naturally supports many subjects of the national curriculum: scientific, creative and physical. The project exposes children to the practical application of these in a hands-on and informative way.
Building of the school gardens begins in April and takes approximately three weeks to complete. A panel of RHS experts will judge the gardens on Wednesday 9 May, the day before RHS Malvern Spring Festival opens to the public. An estimated 100,000 visitors are expected to descend on the Three Counties Showground over the four-day show.
For more information on how to get involved and to reserve a growing space for your school email Mark Harwood-Browne, Education Executive.
RHS Malvern Spring Festival takes place from Thursday 10 May until Sunday 13 May 2018.
Tickets are now on sale. Free entry for children under the age of 16 is available throughout the festival. For more information on ticket prices, please call 01684 584900 or visit www.rhsmalvern.co.uk