Search begins to find the next generation of star gardeners

Tuesday 22 January 2019

  • Royal Horticultural Society’s School Gardeners of the Year competition opens for nominations
  • Now in its eighth year the competition celebrates the many benefits of school gardening and outdoor learning
  • Entrants stand to win top prizes from historic greenhouse manufacturer Hartley Botanic, gardening vouchers and RHS Flower Show tickets

The search to find the next generation of star gardeners begins today as the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) opens nominations for RHS School Gardeners of the Year 2019.

Now in its eighth year, the nationwide competition champions the many benefits of school gardening, shining a light on young people of all skill levels who are passionate about gardening and the inspirational adults who teach them.

Supported by greenhouse manufacturer and prize provider Hartley Botanic, the RHS is calling on schools to nominate their gardening superstars across three competition 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 can enter their nominees at with applications closing at 5pm on Wednesday 24 April. Shortlisted applicants will be asked to produce a short video in support of their entry which is used by the judging panel to pick the winners. The winners will be announced in June.

A host of top prizes are up for grabs including an award-winning, handmade Hartley Botanic greenhouse worth £10,000 and Hartley Botanic patio glasshouses, National Garden Gift Vouchers and tickets to RHS Flower Shows. 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 provides free resources and advice to over 38,000 schools and groups across the UK. With young people increasingly disconnected from nature and the outdoor world and the knock-on effect on wellbeing, the campaign calls on every child to be given to chance to garden which can also boost learning and hone a host of other skills.

Alana Cama, RHS Skills Development Manager said: “The competition highlights what a difference gardening can make to young people’s lives – whether it’s improving their health and mental wellbeing, enriching curriculum learning or opening their eyes to a love of gardening that will stay with them as they grow older. I can’t wait to hear the inspirational stories behind this year’s nominees.”

The prize of an award-winning, handmade Hartley Botanic greenhouse worth up to £10,000 has been donated by the historic Lancashire greenhouse manufacturer and will go to the winning school gardening team.

Tom Barry, Hartley Botanic’s Managing Director said: “We are thrilled to be supporting the RHS with this year’s competition. The love of gardening often starts from an early age and this is a great way to encourage children to discover the joy of growing early on.”

In 2018, 15-year-old Ellie Micklewright from Shropshire took home the RHS Young School Gardener of the Year award after wowing judges with her dedication and initiative in creating a weekly school gardening club from scratch. Starting with very little equipment or resources, she managed to secure funding for the club and get 40 other students on board.

St Gregory’s Catholic Science College in London received the team award for their school garden which was once earmarked to extend the school car park, while Matthew Willer, a history teacher from Reepham High School in Norfolk was named RHS School Gardening Champion for his work to launch The Allotment Project on the edge of the school’s playing field.

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 38,000 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, the world’s leading gardening charity, was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood. Our vision is to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place. This aspiration underpins all that we do, from inspirational gardens and shows, through our scientific research, to our education and community programmes such as Campaign for School Gardening and Britain in Bloom. We produce key publications, hold a world-class collection of horticultural books and botanical art, and sell the very best plants and gardening gifts.

The RHS is fundraising £40m to transform our gardens, outreach and education facilities, which includes redeveloping our flagship RHS Garden Wisley and opening a new garden, RHS Garden Bridgewater, in 2020. We are solely funded by our members, visitors and supporters. For more information visit

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262

About Hartley Botanic  
Hartley Botanic is a British greenhouse and glasshouse manufacturer based in Greenfield, Lancashire. The company was founded in 1938 by brothers Vincent (RHS fellow) and Norman Hartley following their groundbreaking aluminium greenhouse design, the first time (to our knowledge) aluminium had been used in greenhouse construction and marking a huge improvement on its wood and wrought iron Victorian forerunners. Today, Hartley Botanic’s reputation has been built on 80 years of British craftsmanship, creating greenhouse and glasshouse structures known for their enduring strength, quality and performance. It is the greenhouse manufacturer of choice for the UK’s leading horticulture organisations, institutions and designers with ‘Hartleys’ commissioned by the RHS, the National Trust, Kew Gardens, Glasgow Botanic Gardens, Oxford Botanical Gardens, Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, Blenheim Palace, The Lingholm Estate and Hampton Court name a few. In February 2017 Hartley Botanic became the only aluminium greenhouse and glasshouse manufacturer to be endorsed by the RHS.


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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