South East and London Schools Wow Crowds with Stunning Mini Show Gardens at RHS Garden Wisley

Friday 6 June 2014

Throughout the spring half-term week 56 mini show gardens, designed and built by South East and London schools, were proudly displayed at RHS Garden Wisley for the annual Budding Gardeners competition hosted by the RHS Campaign for School Gardening.

Visitors to RHS Garden Wisley were treated to a variety of creative gardens each designed around the central theme of recycling and planted into a one meter by one meter raised bed. Each school put its own personal and innovative twist on their garden and unusual items included a kitchen hob, bicycles, wellies, windmills, Wombles, a ship’s anchor, a chest of drawers and a solar powered fish tank complete with goldfish.

Once all 56 gardens were installed, the two competition judges, TV gardener, Chris Collins and RHS Garden Wisley Curator, Colin Crosbie, set about the near-impossible task of choosing winners for the seven different award categories: Best in Show Acorn Award (Early Years – Key Stage 2), Best in Show Oak Award (Key Stage 3-5), Green Award, Most Original Award, Most Decorative Award, Curator’s Award and Chris Collins’ Award.

Crosbie commented at the time of judging, “The standard this year is the highest we’ve ever seen and the level of creativity is astonishing. This is much harder than judging RHS Chelsea Flower Show!”

The competition, now in its sixth year, attracted fantastic crowds of RHS Garden Wisley visitors and members, and was positioned pride of place on Seven Acres, a busy area of the garden adjacent to the popular restaurant and food hall. Throughout the week over 1,000 visitors voted for their favourite garden to determine which school would receive the coveted People’s Choice Award. The overall results of the competition are as follows (for full descriptions of the gardens please see Notes to Editors):

People’s Choice Award
‘Byron Court Goes Bananas’
Byron Court Primary School, Wembley, Middlesex

Best in Show Acorn Award (Early Years – KS2)
‘The Dump’
Monks Orchard Primary School, Shirley, Croydon

Best in Show Oak Award (KS3 – 5)
‘Wombling Free’
The Wyvern School (Special School), Warminster, Kent

Most Decorative Award
‘Our FREE Garden’
St Andrew’s C of E Primary School, Chinnor, Oxfordshire

Green Award
‘The Kitchen Garden’
Wylye Coyotes Afterschool Club, Warminster, Kent

Most Original Award
‘On Yer Bike’
Chewton Common Playgroup, Highcliffe, Dorset

Curator’s Award
‘You Have to Eat It to Be In It’
Kb’s Day Nursery, Benenden, Kent

Chris Collins’ Award
‘Corelli Aquaponics’
Corelli College, Kidbrooke, London

TV gardener and competition judge, Chris Collins, said, “I have judged RHS Budding Gardeners for several years and this was without a doubt the most impressive display we have seen to date. The imagination and also the gardening skills of these children really stood out and each garden was completely different from the next. Although we could only choose a handful of winners, they were all award-winning show gardens.”

Schools Communications Officer, RHS Campaign for School Gardening, Alana Tapsell, said, “This competition is a wonderful opportunity to show the public the incredible levels of skill and creativity that school pupils possess. At the beginning of the year we set a simple theme of recycling and each of our 56 entrants worked for months growing this into their own individual creation, taking Wisley visitors right into the pages of a fairy tale, off to a tropical jungle, onto Centre Court at Wimbledon before heading back to the kitchen for a spot of tea. Gardening in schools can let children exercise their imagination and learn some key skills along the way such as planning, time management, patience and team work.”

RHS Budding Gardeners 2015 will open for entries later in the year and resources will be available on the RHS Campaign for School Gardening website to help schools create their show garden as a curriculum-linked project.


Notes to editors

For more information, please contact Alana Tapsell, Schools Communications Officer for the RHS Campaign for School Gardening on 01483 212387 or email or Ed Horne in the RHS Press Office on 020 7821 3356 or email

Images from the event are available to download at - please email the RHS Press Office at for instructions on how to create an account.

Details and descriptions of winning gardens

People’s Choice Award
‘Byron Court Goes Bananas’: Byron Court Primary School, Wembley, Middlesex
Participants: Ages 6-10, KS1 & 2

Gardening is very important at Byron Court School, we run a ‘Wildlife/ ECO club every week. We came 2nd in Brent in Bloom 2013, have grown vegetables for the School Food Matters Produce Sale and been part of Capital Growth. We are learning about ECO issues and recycling, and are extremely proud of our recycled flowers from the Chelsea Flower Show.
Currently we are applying for Fairtrade School Status, which inspired this display, its banana’s everywhere!

Best in Show Acorn Award (Early Years – KS2)
‘The Dump’: Monks Orchard Primary School, Shirley, Croydon
Participants: Ages 7-8, KS2

Our garden takes the theme of recycling one step further to re-using. Many containers sent to the 'Dump' can be re-used so the children have planted in a variety of them to show this. The plants have been grown from seed and from baby plants. This has given the children the experience of sowing, thinning and transplanting. The whole of year 3 have been involved in the garden.

Best in Show Oak Award (KS3 – 5)
‘Wombling Free’: The Wyvern School (Special School), Warminster, Kent
Participants: Ages 13-14, KS3

Underground, Overground, Wombling Free,
The Wombles of Wimbledon Common are we.
Making good use of the things that we find,
Things that the everyday folks leave behind.

We are linking the idea of recycling with the Wombles and tennis at Wimbledon. Pupils collected items that have been previously used which they thought we could adapt and incorporate in our garden.

Most Decorative Award
‘Our FREE Garden’: St Andrew’s C of E Primary School, Chinnor, Oxfordshire
Participants: Ages 8-9, KS2

Our eco and insect friendly garden has cost us nothing! All the plants and materials have been resourced from the school garden, as well as items that we have rescued from our parents’ landfill bins. As an eco-friendly school we are committed to protecting and preserving the wonderful world in which we live for generations to come. Our garden is inspired by our love of nature and our wish to protect and preserve the great outdoors. Its multi-sensory features will appeal to children of all ages. We hope our garden inspires you to ‘get growing’.

Green Award
‘The Kitchen Garden’: Wylye Coyotes Afterschool Club, Warminster, Kent
Participants: Ages 3-11, Early Years – KS2

We have been exploring the motto “reduce, re-use, recycle”; finding a novel use for items which would otherwise go into landfill, by planting them with vegetables, herbs and edible flowers – truly a kitchen and a garden in one!

Most Original Award
‘On Yer Bike’: Chewton Common Playgroup, Highcliffe, Dorset
Participants: Aged 4, Early Years

Chewton Common Playgroup is both an Eco Playgroup and a Rights Respecting Setting.
Our children take great pride in recycling and growing their own food. They have made bird feeders, planters, bird boxes and homes for minibeasts and local wildlife.
One child once said, when asked who recycles? “My Dad, he recycles to work every day”. This gave us the idea of using an old bike to make our garden.

Curator’s Award
‘You Have to Eat It to Be In It’: Kb’s Day Nursery, Benenden, Kent
Participants: Ages 2-5, Early Years

We have turned all of our usual recycling items into this Kb’s edible garden. We’re always thinking of our tummies! We hope you will have a little taste. Our newly made bottle greenhouse helped and encouraged our seeds to grow.

Chris Collins’ Award
‘Corelli Aquaponics’: Corelli College, Kidbrooke, London
Participants: Ages 11-15, KS3

Corelli Green Scene has made an aquaponic pallet garden, complete with butler sink and tap. Aquaponics is the method of growing crops and fish together in a re-circulating system.
At Corelli we have been up-cycling, growing root vegetables in wellington boots and salad in coke bottles and milk cartons. We have even recycled our hanging tea set seen at Chelsea and Hampton Court Palace Flower Shows 2013. Cucumbers form a curtain effect down the sides and pallets create a vertical garden to conserve space.
The pupils have shown keen motivation and proved that you can make something useful and beautiful from a waste product and is a friendly solution to gardening.

About the RHS Campaign for School Gardening
The RHS actively involves more than 18,700 schools across the UK in growing and gardening through its Campaign for School 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. Huge benefits are to be had from using an outdoor classroom where children can learn in a fun, engaging way. Information, lesson plans and advice for schools is provided online and is backed up by support from the RHS education team and Campaign for School Gardening Regional Advisors.  

About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood for the encouragement and improvement of the science, art and practice of horticulture. We held our first flower shows in 1820, were granted a Royal Charter in 1861 and acquired RHS Garden Wisley 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.

Today the RHS is committed to providing a voice for all gardeners. We are driven by a simple love of plants and a belief that gardeners make the world a better place. 210 years on we continue to safeguard and advance the science, art and practice of horticulture, creating displays that inspire people to garden. In all aspects of our work we help gardeners develop by sharing our knowledge of plants, gardens and the environment. 

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


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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