Educating and inspiring the next generation of gardeners is one of the missions we hold most dear at Cultivation Street, and this week you can see some of the incredible school gardens that are a part of our campaign.
The three winners of this year’s competition each have a different focus and bring something different to their community, but they all have a fantastic attitude and have accomplished wonders with the limited resources that they have to work with.
Read on to be inspired by what these schools have created, and hopefully you can take some ideas away to perhaps start or improve a school garden in your area. Not only is gardening a great and useful skill for children to learn, it is also a brilliant way to maintain a healthy body and mind at any age.
SCHOOL 1st PLACE WINNER
Christ Church Primary School, London
With the help of the local fire brigade this school turned a disused dump in the heart of urban London into a beautiful and productive garden that serves the school and the whole community.
“Our community school garden was a disused dump which has been transformed into a vibrant and beautiful fruit, veg and flower garden for our local community.
Most of our pupils and families live in the surrounding high rise tower blocks and very few of them actually have gardens. Our area provides them with a space to learn, grow, socialise and be healthy!
We were recently the first school in London to be awarded Gold Level Accreditation for Learning outside the classroom.
“Our aim was to transform a really ugly space into a beautiful garden which is an outdoor classroom. We wanted to be able to sow our own seeds, grow healthy food and be healthier physically, mentally and emotionally.
Although the school leads the garden work, this garden is actually for the whole community as well. We run activities in the summer holidays that include art, cooking, planting, harvesting and games.
We’re really excited as plans are now underway to start the transformation of another nearby space for our children and the wider community. We are transforming neglected ugly spaces and turning them into beautiful gardens. Our young people are learning that they have the power to change their environment.
Miss Susan Perry, Christ Church Primary School, London
SCHOOLS 2nd PLACE WINNER
St Peter’s Primary School, Derby
This school has used real ingenuity to turn several unused small spaces and raised areas into a sprawling, vibrant and productive school garden with a wide range of styles and activities for the children.
“Our Friday after school gardening club has been going for about three years. The group is made up of families with children at the school and we sure do have lots of fun. Our twice weekly, lunchtime gardening club is really popular too, and the kids love to run around, play on the tree trunks, make dens, as well as take part in all the gardening activities.
Around 60 children participate in each lunchtime gardening session, but sometimes over 100! This year we’ve got lots of projects going on in the garden which are helping the children learn tons of things about nature and their own environment.
Our garden has many different areas such as the Magic Garden, the Peace Garden, the Herbal Garden, a wildflower area, and more. As well as ornamental planting we also grow a huge range of fruit and vegetables, and have mini-allotments that our after school family gardening use which are beautifully colourful all year round.
Attracting wildlife is a key aspect to our garden we have bird boxes, a bat box, mini- beast hotel and hedgehog house, bee cafe and water butt. We’re really lucky to have three wildlife ponds, and we can often hear the frogs calling as we work.
We created a show competition garden for RHS Wisley in the Magic Garden section of our garden. In addition, we go out with our local community and plant up our local planters twice a year, exhibit in the local horticultural show, and make a display with plants from our garden for our Church Flower Festival.”
Miss Katy Doncaster, Forest Schools Leader (Freelance), Derby
SCHOOLS 3rd PLACE WINNER
Chaucer Junior School, Ilkeston
This is a school garden with a real focus on getting out in the community, working with the local council in parks, train stations, and more. They also get the kids involved in large flower shows and competitions.
“Our gardening cub has been running for the past 14 years and it just goes from strength to strength. Our club has a real community focus, and we take part in a number of projects out in our community of Ilkeston, Derbyshire. Our latest project is we’ve adopted Ilkeston Train Station and our gardening club have been tasked with giving it
a new lease of life. The children think it’s brilliant, and they take great pride in making it look welcoming for the public.
Everything that we do at Chaucer Gardening Club isn’t just about being in our own school garden, it’s about getting the children out into the wider community and giving them opportunities to use their new green skills, and teaching them to take pride in their own community!
Our gardening club are putting their skills to good use all around our town. Recently, we helped Erewash Borough Council twice since September to plant our town’s Cenotaph on Ilkeston market place which is always a special project for us, and also helping the council plant bulbs in our local Victoria Park.
Our club has been able to take part in several of the large flowers shows, all of which have been thrilling experiences for the kids. We also love entering competitions such as ‘Bulbs 4 Kids’ and the ‘Grow Your Own Potatoes’ competition!”
Mrs Kerry Wheatley, Chaucer Junior School, Ilkeston