This is a PEOPLES VOTE category. Vote for your favourite young gardener!
Nominated by Nancy Manning
Since coming back after lockdown in March, the Year 5 garden has clearly been a very important place for Katty. This has been a green outdoor area within a very urban setting which has given Katty the opportunity to work independently and with friends to grow vegetables for the class to eat. It is an area where she can be found most days at break times looking after the plants and checking their progress. In March our Year 5 vegetable plot was very neglected after lockdown and winter and was covered in weeds, with poor soil. Katty organised a group of friends to help dig out the weeds and turn over the soil which took several days of working through playtimes. Since then she has worked with friends and on her own, to plant seeds and vegetables in our section of the garden and regularly water and weed the area. During the Easter break she took home vegetable seedlings which we had started off in the classroom, to look after, planting them out with friends after the holiday. She has looked after the plot brilliantly, watering it and letting the adults know when the vegetables have been ready to eat. The whole class has enjoyed eating spinach and kale from the garden and we now have other vegetables waiting to be harvested and tasted before the end of term. In the classroom we have been propagating house plants and Katty regularly looks after these too. She is developing a great knowledge of the growing conditions plants need and the different bugs and problems plants can face. We have had a problem with foxes on our vegetable plot and Katty helped to set up netting with a friend to cover and protect the plants. The school vegetable plot has given Katty an opportunity to develop an interest in gardening and plants which she otherwise would not have had. It has been lovely to have such an enthusiastic gardener in the class who has inspired other classmates to get involved. Gardening is very much a part of school life for Katty and she clearly gets a huge amount of enjoyment from looking after plants and watching things grow.
Nominated by Georgina Schueller
I am nominating three wonderful children from the same family – Ania 10, Adam 8 and Sara 5. In April 2017, Ania and Adam helped to plant and water our newly installed community garden. Since then, they have enthusiastically continued to help, and now the youngest is following in their footsteps. What great examples they are! Even during the cold snap earlier in the year, they were out with their mother weeding and composting. Ania was so enthused she had joined the gardening after school club, but because of the pandemic, it isn’t currently running and she misses it. However, our community garden is benefitting all the more from their help. Living in an upper maisonette means the family only have a little outdoor balcony space, so the garden is of real benefit to them on so many levels, seeing the beautiful flowers, experiencing nature’s biodiversity, and having fresh organic fruit and veg which they’ve helped to nurture, so close to home. They have so much fun helping too, as you can see from the photos! “We are so happy and lucky to have our Garden”. And Caldwell Gardens Estate is so lucky to have your family helping.
Nominated by Sharron Richmond
This young man had little experience of gardening before he began and presented with many fears of flying and ground dwelling insects. With some persuasion, he was able to enter our school garden. Over time, he became more comfortable within the space and was able to learn how to prepare a growing space for planting by removing weeds, although tentative to begin with. He would also not touch anything without first donning a pair of gloves. He rated his experience of gardening before and after each activity and this rating generally reflected his curiosity, enjoyment, low confidence and discomfort with the unfamiliar. He availed himself of the opportunities to weed, plant seeds/bulbs, fill our bird feeder and composting. He developed skills required for correct and safe use of tools such as a spade, trowel, fork and rubber mallet which was used to secure weed membrane prior to being topped with bark chippings. As the weeks progressed, I noted his growing confidence and enthusiasm for nature-based activities. His attention span and ability to follow instructions also improved and he was able to experience a great sense of achievement demonstrated by his actions and rating of the activity. He now attends our after school gardening club where he is able to share his knowledge and gardening skills with others. He now gardens with and without gloves and will approach each task with vigour, enthusiasm and confidence. I would dearly like him to be recognised for the amazing journey he has travelled.
Nominated by Victoria Robinson
Rae has been cultivating his sunflower since the beginning of Easter break and has enjoyed watching it grow. Rae has been very attentive and has even had to change his sunflower into a large pot as it has grown so very tall. Rae’s sunflower is 30cm now and is starting to bloom. Rae is very proud and has been also uploading the progress with plant with school and sharing with his peers. This is Rae’s first experience with planting and he is really enjoying every moment.