Urban schools are making more of an effort with their gardens than their rural counterparts, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has said, because children in cities are less likely to have green space at home.
For the first time, every category in the RHS School Gardeners of the Year competition was won by an urban school, as teachers planted vegetables in enterprising places such as on the roof and pushing raised beds onto concrete playgrounds.
Alana Cama, Schools and Groups Programme Manager said: “We know that growing crops is the most popular school gardening activity but I was impressed by how these city schools have really embraced it to inspire themselves and others – from getting parents involved to inspiring their peers and incentivising them to push their own boundaries.
“We know that for many young people in towns and cities school gardening clubs are their only touchpoint to nature. Not only do these serve as spaces to learn about the importance of plants for the environment and wildlife but our work with teachers has also shown that it can improve health and wellbeing as well as educational attainment.
“No matter the size of a school’s outside space there’s something for everyone, with many inner city schools growing crops in hanging baskets or pots, training climbers up brick walls and even turning flat rooftops into secret nature havens."
William Rae, age 11, from the Edinburgh Academy Junior School, won Young Gardener of the Year. He won for sharing his love of gardening with his schoolmates; instigating a garlic growing competition and mentoring his fellow pupils.
A London school won the RHS School Gardening Team of the Year 2019 - Springhallow School in Ealing. The team of nine aged between 12 and 16 from Springhallow, a school for young people with autism, worked together to create a beautiful and productive garden from scratch; challenging themselves to try new foods and supplying edible flowers to a new school café.
Michelle Jones, a parent volunteer at Ashmount Primary School, Crouch Hill, London, won RHS School Gardening Champion of The Year. She is the driving force behind a flourishing school gardening club that has got 50 families on board to grow food in the school grounds. Many families at the school don't have gardens at home so make the most of those the school has to offer.