Making a success of school gardens

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:
Go green: An image from the RHS film showcasing Springhallow School, winners of the RHS School Gardening Team of the Year 2019

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is urging schools – even those with little green space in their grounds – to get gardening with its Campaign for School Gardening.

It says that schools can use creative ways to grow, turning to rooftop plots, installing raised beds on paved playgrounds and upcycling plastic bottles and old tins to create green walls for wildlife.

Schools with more space are being challenged to consider growing on a larger scale to supply the school kitchen or even sell their produce.

Alana Cama, RHS schools and groups programme manager, said: “Young people are increasingly thinking about what the future might look like and rightly concerned about news of forest fires and plastic-filled oceans. Schools can play an important part in empowering young people to make positive changes. By providing a plot, or even just a couple of pots, schools can help sow an appreciation for the environment.”

The RHS campaign is also based around simple things that schools can do to help young people make a difference, including reusing waste materials (for example, to make seed trays), being wise about water use (for example, by installing water butts and challenging students to reduce how much water they use), and planting a tree or a hedge to help purify the air around the school.

The RHS also runs an annual School Gardeners of the Year competition, recognising school gardening champions from primary, secondary and special schools across the country.

Pictured above are members of the 2019 Gardening Team of the Year – a group of nine students aged 12 to 16 from Springhallow, a school for young people with autism. The students worked together to create a beautiful and productive garden from scratch, including finding new foods and supplying edible flowers and other produce to the school café.


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