Search Starts for School Gardening Superstars

Monday 15 January 2018

• Royal Horticultural Society’s School Gardeners of the Year competition opens for nominations • Now in its seventh year the competition celebrates the positive impact of school gardening

 The Royal Horticultural Society today begins its search to find school gardening’s brightest stars as RHS School Gardeners of the Year 2018 opens for nominations.

Now in its seventh year, the nationwide competition celebrates the passion and creativity in school gardening across the UK, encourages schools’ ambitions with a range of top prizes and shines a light on the powerful impact that gardening can have on children’s learning, development and wellbeing.

In 2018, supported by greenhouse provider Gabriel Ash, the RHS is calling on schools to nominate their gardening heroes across three categories:

RHS Young School Gardener of the Year: Nominations open for pupils aged 5-16 who demonstrate a true passion for gardening, show invaluable gardening skills and have made an outstanding contribution to their school or local community.

RHS School Gardening Team of the Year: Recognises an outstanding gardening team that has made a difference to their school environment or local community.

RHS School Gardening Champion of the Year: Celebrates teachers, leaders and volunteers who have inspired a passion for gardening and have used the outdoors to help bring the curriculum alive.

Schools are invited to enter at with applications closing at 5pm on Wednesday 25 April. Shortlisted applicants will be asked to produce a five-minute video in support of their entry.

A host of top prizes are up for grabs including cedar coldframes and a greenhouse manufactured by Gabriel Ash, as well as National Garden Gift Vouchers and tools. Winning schools will also receive a visit from competition judge and TV gardening presenter, Frances Tophill, who appears on BBC Gardeners’ World and ITV’s Love Your Garden.

The annual search forms part of the charity’s RHS Campaign for School Gardening which has been running for ten years, supporting almost 35,000 schools and youth groups and six million children to garden, and comes as the government commits £10million to help engage school children in nature as part of its 25 Year Environment Plan. A survey of schools by the RHS found that 96% reported gardening had enabled young people to connect with nature, and 83% and 82% of schools felt it had improved the mental and physical wellbeing of young people respectively.

Frances Tophill, TV gardener and competition judge said: “I wasn’t lucky enough to get the chance to garden at school so I’m always delighted at the opportunities that are available to pupils now – be it growing veg from seed or encouraging wildlife into their plots. It’s a real joy to help judge School Gardeners of the Year and see first-hand the difference that gardening can make.”

Alana Tapsell, Skills Development Manager at the Royal Horticultural Society said: “We know that school gardening can enrich the curriculum, build life skills and improve mental and physical wellbeing. By shining a light on some of the most inspiring examples from across the country we hope to encourage even more to get outside and grow.”

In 2017, Fraser White, 10, from Fife, took home the Young School Gardener of the Year accolade because of his dedication to the school garden which he used to cement friendships and as a space to unwind. Hammersmith Academy in London walked away with the team award while science teacher David Nicol from the Good Shepherd Institute in Bishopton took home the champion award.

For more information and advice about school gardening visit the RHS Campaign for School Gardening website:


Notes to editors

 For more information about the competition, photos or interviews with previous winners please contact Claire Weaver on 020 7821 3688 /

Notes to Editors:

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 35,000 schools and groups 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:

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 Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262

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About the RHS

The RHS believes that gardening improves the quality of life and that everyone should have access to great garden experiences. As a charity we help to bring gardening into people's lives and support gardeners of all levels and abilities; whether they are expert horticulturists or children who are planting seeds for the very first time.

RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 0845 130 4646, or visit

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262