ASPIRING young gardeners who are preparing to exhibit at RHS Malvern later this year have been treated to a professional horticulture masterclass led by Blue Peter Gardener Chris Collins.
Youngsters from schools and colleges across the region descended on the Three Counties Showground, in Malvern, for a series of workshops aimed at helping them put together their competitive Show Gardens that they are building for the RHS Malvern Spring Festival.
The RHS Malvern Spring Festival, which takes place from May 8 until May 11, is the only RHS Show in the UK to have a collection of Show Gardens designed and built entirely by school children. This year sees a record number of 21 schools creating gardens on the theme ‘A Great Moment in History’ with youngsters from playgroups up to pupils in Year 13 taking part.
RHS Malvern Spring Festival is the first big RHS show of the season and attracts some of the biggest garden designers in the UK, including the likes of Peter Dowle who last year won Gold and Best in Category at Chelsea.
Sue Verdeyen, Education Officer for the Three Counties Showground, said: “At RHS Malvern, we are passionate about inspiring young people to fall in love with gardening and design. We are very proud to be the only RHS show that has a project specifically for schools. It’s a great opportunity for the children to get some hands on experience into the design, horticultural and construction industries.
“These youngsters are involved in every aspect of creating their gardens; the design, the sowing, the growing of their own plants and the hard landscaping. They have some great ideas and we can’t wait to see how the gardens are going to take shape.”
Blue Peter’s Chris Collins joined a panel of experts from the horticultural and construction industries to offer the children practical advice and information. It was hoped the workshops would assist the children with translating their design ideas into reality.
Phil Eves, from BAM Construct UK Ltd, kicked off the workshops demonstrating the size of the gardens by marking out a 4m x 4m square. He walked the young designers through the space while offering advice and answering questions on construction.
Chris Collins then shared an array of helpful hints on planting and sowing. He also talked a little about his career on TV and in the horticultural industry.
Speaking after the event, Chris Collins said: “It has been a superb way to kick off the School Gardens Challenge for RHS Malvern. The two days of workshops have put everybody in the mood and the ideas have been flying. I am so excited about the show in May and seeing the children’s show gardens come to life. These show gardens will give the kids a real insight into practical gardening and give them memories that they will treasure.”
2014 has seen a record number of applications from schools wishing to take part in the School Gardens Challenge, with 21 from Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Warwickshire being offered a place to exhibit. Building of the school Show Gardens will commence at the end of April and will take approximately three weeks. The gardens will then be judged by RHS experts on May 7, the day before the RHS Malvern Spring Festival opens to the public.
An estimated 90,000 visitors are expected to descend on RHS Malvern over the four-day show.
The RHS Malvern Spring Festival will take place from Thursday May 8 until Sunday May 11. Tickets have now gone on sale. Advanced tickets priced from £14.50 for RHS and TCAS members and from £15.50 for non-members. Tickets available on the gate from £18. For more information on ticket prices, visit www.threecounties.co.uk/springgardening
Full List of Participants in RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2014 Schools Challenge
- Abberley Parochial VC Primary School, Abberley
- Nunnery Wood High School, Worcester
- Stanley Road Primary School, Worcester
- Three Counties Home Educators Group, Worcester
- Tudor Grange Academy, Worcester
- Queen Elizabeth Humanities College, Bromyard
- Castlemorton CE Primary School, Castlemorton
- The Elms, Colwall
- Herefordshire and Ludlow College,
- King Charles 1st School, Kidderminster
- Meadows First School, Bromsgrove
- Parkside Middle School, Bromsgrove
- Pershore College, Pershore
- St Egwin’s Middle School, Evesham
- Tewkesbury School, Tewkesbury
- Farmor’s School, Fairford
- Abbeymead Under 5s Playgroup, Gloucester
- Minety Pre-School, Malmesbury
- Otherwise Engaged Home Educators Group, Shropshire
- President Kennedy School, Coventry
- City College, Coventry