Former BBC Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins is returning to RHS Malvern Spring Festival for the fifth time to head up the School Gardens Challenge. With the aim of inspiring the next generation of gardeners, the schools are tasked with demonstrating what they think makes Britain truly Great.
Chris returns to mentor 14 schools taking part in the event supported by Nationwide Building Society and BAM Construction. They’ve all been invited to design a garden that tells a story of an inspiring person, group, event or invention that has helped mould Britain into what it is today.
Diana Walton, Head of Shows at Three Counties Showground, said: “Each year we’re so proud of what these talented young gardeners achieve. With the support of Chris and long-term supporter BAM Construction, the children flourish and they never fail to deliver awe-inspiring, imaginative gardens that are a delight to all who see them. The theme of Great Britain this year is quite broad so we’re all really keen to see how each school interprets it and we can’t wait for the finished gardens in May.”
The challenge, will feature 12 gardens from 14 schools across the country, including:
Cherry Orchard Primary School in Worcester who are taking inspiration from the armed forces with a garden theme entitled ‘Forces of Nature’. The garden is designed as a thank you to those who serve to protect our freedom.
Both Ashton Keynes C of E Primary in Wiltshire and Tudor Grange Academy in Worcester are designing gardens showcasing different aspects of the work of Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, honouring elements of his work such as the Great Western Railway, Clifton suspension bridge and the SS Great Britain.
Pupils of Birmingham Virtual School are inspired by the city of Birmingham and everything that makes the city great, from Selfridges to the Canals whilst Bredon School in Tewkesbury want to celebrate all things coastal with their ‘Oh I do like to be beside the Seaside’ themed garden.
Anyone for tea? Young gardeners at Greenfields Primary School in Kettering, Northamptonshire are hosting a ‘Very British Tea Party’ with their garden with the aim of trying to raise awareness of our native plants and the vital role they play in sustaining British wildlife.
Malvern Wells C of E Primary School are taking a step back to Tudor times with a theme celebrating the history and heritage of Great Britain and how we capitalise on our history in modern times. Whilst the garden designed by Northleach C of E Primary in Gloucestershire will be celebrating the diversity and multi-cultural nature of modern British society.
‘Dig for Lunch, Dig for Victory’ is the theme RGS Worcester are leading with as they create a garden based around the Great British Sunday lunch, a British tradition that regularly brings family and friends together.
Pupils from St Briavels Primary School in Gloucestershire are taking inspiration from the natural beauty found within the Forest of Dean and its historical links to the industrial revolution within Great Britain.
A collaboration between St Nicholas C of E Middle School, Pinvin First School and Himbleton First School in Worcestershire will see the three schools create a garden celebrating the union in history of our four nations, religious diversity, urban and landscapes and how humankind coexists with nature.
The garden designed by the Three Counties Home Educators will showcase the many talents of Beatrix Potter, looking beyond her wonderful books and celebrating her legacy and the impact it has had on British culture.
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 9th May, the day before RHS Malvern Spring Festival opens to the public, with the results being announced at the awards ceremony at lunchtime on Thursday 10th May in the festival theatre supported by Great Little Breaks. Over 100,000 visitors are expected to descend on the Three Counties Showground over the four-day show.
RHS Malvern Spring Festival takes places from Thursday 10th May until Sunday 13th 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 0844 811 0050 or visit www.rhsmalvern.co.uk.