Royal Horticultural Society’s school gardening competition is now open for entries

Last year’s RHS School Gardening Team of the Year: Stafford Manor High School, Stafford

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is calling on school gardeners from across the country to enter the search to find the next generation of star horticulturists, as it launches its annual competition, the RHS School Gardeners of the Year 2017. The competition is supported by leading greenhouse manufacturer Gabriel Ash.

Celebrating gardening in schools by uncovering inspirational gardeners across three categories, the competition shines a light on green-fingered pupils, passionate school gardening teams and the often unheralded teachers and parent volunteers who encourage them. Nominations can be submitted from Wednesday 11 January to Friday 28 April, 5pm.

Shortlisted gardeners will be given video cameras by the RHS to produce a short video highlighting their love of gardening, which will be assessed by an expert panel of judges including horticulturist and television presenter Frances Tophill.

The winners will receive prizes that include £500 of gardening vouchers for their school, a Gabriel Ash greenhouse or coldframe, tickets to an RHS Flower Show and the chance to work alongside a crack team of RHS experts and have a well-known TV gardener visit their school.

In 2016, the RHS Young School Gardener of the Year prize was won by six-year-old Fred Wilcox who attends Trafalgar Infant School in Twickenham.  Described as ‘a young David Attenborough’, Fred impressed the judges with his enthusiasm and talent for gardening, including his knowledge of bugs and minibeasts and demonstrations of planting and taking cuttings.

The RHS School Gardening Team of the Year award recognises an outstanding gardening team that has made a difference to their school environment.  Last year the title was won by a 15-strong group of pupils from Stafford Manor High School in Stafford, who took on a project to build ten raised beds with unbridled enthusiasm and worked extremely hard to make the garden a productive, pleasant and inspirational space within the school.

RHS School Gardening Champion of the Year celebrates dedicated teachers and school volunteers who show a passion for encouraging pupils to garden, as well as linking gardening to the curriculum. Sharon McMaster, a parent volunteer from Ballycarrickmaddy Primary School in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, was the 2016 winner.

Sharon said: “It has been a wonderful experience winning the award, from visiting RHS Wisley to receiving the many prizes for the school. Frances Tophill coming to meet us and garden with us was the highlight of our year!”

Frances Tophill, an RHS School Gardeners of the Year judge, said: “I’m proud to support the RHS School Gardeners of the Year competition as it recognises and rewards the wonderful work being done in schools around the UK to inspire the next generation of young horticulturists.

“Thousands of schools are helping their pupils experience the many joys and benefits of gardening, including being active, spending time outside in the fresh air, learning how to grow their own food, and developing useful life skills such as teamwork.

“If there’s an unsung gardening hero at your school and you’d like to give them the recognition they deserve then please nominate them.”

Sarah Cathcart, RHS Head of Education and Learning, said: “It’s fantastic that so many schools embrace gardening and the competition is an important way of showcasing the UK’s young gardening talent.

“Gardening offers such broad potential for learning across the curriculum and I hope that for many pupils, it will sow the seed for a lifetime’s interest in gardening and the many exciting career options that exist within horticulture.”

Di Limam, Managing Director at Gabriel Ash which is donating over £17,000 worth of prizes to the competition said: “Gabriel Ash is proud to support the RHS School Gardeners of the Year 2017 competition as we firmly believe it recognises the talents and inspirations of the next generation of young gardeners.”

To enter the competition, schools should visit the RHS Campaign for School Gardening website at: RHS School Gardening (from 11 January)

To get an idea of what the RHS is looking for, view the 2016 finalists’ videos on the RHS Campaign for School Gardening’s YouTube page at: You Tube : RHS School Gardening

For more information and photos please contact Claire Weaver on 020 7821 3043 or Claire Weaver


The prizes being offered for RHS School Gardeners of the Year 2017 supported by Gabriel Ash are:

Young School Gardener of the Year

School Gardening Team of the Year

School Gardening Champion of the Year

About the RHS Campaign for School Gardening

The RHS School Gardeners of the Year competition is part of the RHS Campaign for School Gardening, which actively involves almost 30,000 schools across the UK in growing and gardening. Children are taught about plants and gardening and their environment.

Through gardening they learn about healthy fruit and vegetables, wildlife and important life skills such as teamwork, social skills and co-operation. Using an outdoor classroom where children can learn in a fun, engaging way provides huge benefits.  Information, lesson plans and advice for schools is provided online and is backed up by support from the RHS Education team and RHS Campaign for School Gardening Regional Advisors.

Schools and youth organisations can sign up to RHS Campaign for School Gardening online: RHS School Gardening

About the RHS

The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood to inspire passion and excellence in the science, art and practice of horticulture. Our vision is to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener, healthier, happier and more beautiful place. We believe everyone in every village, town and city should benefit from growing plants to enhance lives, build stronger, healthier, happier communities and create better places to live.

We held our first flower shows in 1820, were granted a Royal Charter in 1861 and acquired RHS Garden Wisley, our flagship garden, in 1903. From our first meetings in a small room off London’s Piccadilly, we have grown to become the world’s largest gardening charity. At our gardens and shows and through our scientific research, publications, libraries and our education and community programmes we inspire a passion for gardening and growing plants, promote the value of gardens, demonstrate how gardening is good for us and explain the vital roles that plants undertake.

The RHS is committed to bring the joy of gardening to millions more people, inspire the next generation of gardeners and invest in the future to safeguard a £10.4 billion industry employing more than 300,000 people. We are entirely funded by our members, visitors and supporters. RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and help us secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 020 3176 5820, or visit RHS Join

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262

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