AGT Supports Downend School Garden Project

A vital part of AGT’s vision is to encourage future generations to enjoy and participate in gardening. What better opportunity than to support school gardening projects.

“This project has helped me understand plants and the conditions they grow in.”

Avon Gardens Trust will be making an award of £250 to Downend School in South Gloucestershire to help pupils purchase materials and plants for a garden they have designed themselves. The school, a co-educational secondary school and sixth form with academy status, entered two teams in the RHS Green Plan-It Challenge in 2017.

“We learned more when we split the load between all of our team members”

This RHS initiative is not compulsory, and schools are encouraged to sign up as an extra-curricular activity in an effort to inspire youngsters to consider horticulture as a career. Green Plan-It was a 10 week programme in which pupils design a garden for their school, build a model, and present this to a panel of judges.

Trust member, Audrey Gerber, volunteered as a mentor to the Downend teams, together with Martin Smith, a landscape architect. Audrey said ‘it was a very different experience from what I expected, and from any previous experiences that I have had. I hope to have ignited at least the smallest spark of passion for gardens and gardening’. Judging from remarks made by the pupils both mentors felt that their involvement was worthwhile. Comments show that gardening teaches a range of social and interpersonal skills as well as improving plant and design knowledge.

“It’s essential to establish links between different components of a garden to enable them to work together.”

The presentation and judging took place on 7 December 2017, and Downend School was awarded the prize for Innovation. Building on the enthusiasm of a school entry in the 2016 RHS Green Plan-It Challenge, the school is now implementing the design in their grounds, with the enthusiastic help of staff member, Nick Smith.