RHS School Gardeners of the Year 2018 winners announced

Secondary schools have come out on top in this year’s Royal Horticultural Society (RHS)

School Gardeners of the Year competition, winning across all three categories – Young School Gardener, School Gardening Team and School Gardening Champion of the Year – for the first time in the competition’s seven-year history.

Celebrating the passion and creativity in school gardening, the competition shines a light on the powerful impact that gardening can have on children’s learning, development and wellbeing.

This year’s winners, chosen by a panel of judges from nearly 200 nominations are:

RHS Young School Gardener of the Year 2018: Ellie Micklewright, Newport Girls’ High School Academy Trust, Newport, Shropshire

Skilled 15-year-old gardener Ellie started her school’s gardening club from scratch, galvanising an army of 40 students and staff to transform the school grounds. As well as researching, planning and designing the garden Ellie also secured funding from local businesses to help create wildlife habitats, a sensory zone and an orchard.

Frances Tophill, BBC Gardeners’ World presenter and judge said: “This year’s winner proves the appeal of gardening for teens – whether it’s to boost wellbeing, learn valuable life skills or open up career opportunities such as paving the way for tomorrow’s conservationists. The determination, vision and hard work they’ve shown is nothing short of miraculous.”

Alana Cama, RHS Skills Development Manager said: “It’s so encouraging to see secondary schools sweeping the board in this year’s competition as, often, the pressure of exams and grades means fewer students over the age of 12 spending time in the garden. It just shows that with a little perseverance students like Ellie can reap the benefits of the outdoors.”

The winners and finalists of the Young School Gardener and School Gardening Champion of the Year categories will attend an awards ceremony at RHS Garden Wisley on Saturday 23rd June. The winner of School Gardening Team of the Year will receive a prize giving visit later in the year.

RHS School Gardeners of the Year 2018 is supported by greenhouse manufacturer Gabriel Ash and the company has donated a cedar greenhouse to the winning School Gardening Team of the Year, along with coldframes for all other winners and finalists. Additional prizes include a visit to the three category winners from Frances Tophill, as well as tools and National Garden Gift Vouchers.

The RHS School Gardeners of the Year competition forms part of the RHS Campaign for School Gardening which aims to get young people gardening by providing free resources and advice: www.rhs.org.uk/schoolgardening

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