BBC Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins will nurture the next generation of gardening talent at this year’s RHS Malvern Spring Festival.
Chris returns to the landmark gardening event for his third year as champion of the award-winning School Gardens Challenge. Aspiring young gardeners from across the country are preparing to bring to life their show garden designs at the event with 11 schools taking part in this unique area of the show.
Ken Nottage, CEO of Three Counties, said: “We never cease to be amazed by the originality and diversity that the School Gardens bring to RHS Malvern Spring Festival. This area of the show gives budding gardeners the chance to showcase their green fingered creativity and we’re so pleased to be welcoming Chris back to champion the challenge. The School Gardens Challenge broadens the horizons of school children by exposing them to careers that may not be covered in the classroom. It’s a real joy to watch the process come to life and see the pupils blossom under the mentoring of Chris and BAM Construction. This year we celebrate 10 wonderful years of partnership with BAM Construction and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them for making the School Gardens happen.”
This year’s School Garden theme commemorates the 400th anniversary of the passing of William Shakespeare. A total of 11 schools will take part including:
Pupils of Cradley C of E Primary School in Herefordshire take inspiration from The Tempest. Their garden depicts a tempestuous storm with a recreation of Prospero stewing in his cave. While the class of Sidemore First School in Worcestershire will create a design entitled ‘Bottoms Up!’, bringing to life the story of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.
Bredon School in Bushley look to Macbeth as they showcase an eco-friendly garden entitled ‘Hubble Bubble’, with props made from recycled objects. ‘Murder and Magic, Potions and Poisons’ will be brought to the show from Eardisley C of E School in Hereford. School children have designed this garden to reflect the way in which Shakespeare used plants to add drama throughout his works. The garden is overflowing with plants that are harmful to humans and animals in some way, with some unexpected culprits!
Both Malvern Wells Primary School in Worcestershire and Abberley Parochial VC Primary School in Worcestershire present the four key themes of Shakespeare’s works - tragedy, history, comedy and love. Malvern Wells will showcase a garden entitled ‘All the World’s A Stage’, while Abberley Primary School will bring to life their design, ‘Where There’s A Will, There’s A Play’. Abberley’s garden is a celebration of four of Shakespeare’s landmark plays – Hamlet, Henry V, As You Like It and Romeo & Juliet.
Children of Pitmaston Primary School in Worcester will showcase Shakespeare’s famous Globe Theatre. The class from Tudor Grange Academy in Worcester will recreate a classic scene of Elizabethan life with a travelling theatre company entertaining local people. ‘From Pen To Plot’ by Castlemorton C of E Primary School in Malvern also reflects the formal style of Elizabethan era.
An ‘All That Glitters’ garden by pupils of Interhigh, Crickhowell in Wales has been inspired by formal Italian gardens of the 16th Century, known for their evergreen planting, geometric shapes and water features.
Beoley First School in Redditch will showcase a design entitled ‘To Beoley or Not To Beoley’, a portrait of Shakespeare’s face.
The School Gardens Challenge is sponsored by BAM Construction and seeks to immerse young people in the vibrant world of horticulture. Horticulture naturally supports many subjects of the national curriculum: scientific, creative and physical. The project exposes children to the practical application of these in a hands-on and informative way.
Building of the school gardens began in April and takes approximately three weeks to complete. A panel of RHS experts will judge the gardens on Wednesday 4th May, the day before RHS Malvern Spring Festival opens to the public. An estimated 90,000 visitors are expected to descend on the Three Counties Showground over the four-day show.
RHS Malvern Spring Festival takes place from Thursday 5 May until Sunday 8 May 2016. Tickets are now on sale. Free entry for children under the age of 16 is available throughout the festival. For more information on ticket prices, please call 01684 584900 or visit www.rhsmalvern.co.uk