THE Gardening WEBSITE
Chelsea garden spotlights the growing generation
Chelsea garden spotlights the growing generation
Description
Chelsea garden spotlights the growing generation

RHS Chelsea Flower Show gardens are known for setting horticultural trends and the zeitgeist, and this year is no exception. The interest in children and gardening is big news. As concern grows about children’s unhealthy eating habits and lifestyles, many gardening led initiatives around the UK are proving the immense benefits of involving children in gardening and ‘growing their own’.

The benefits of engaging children at a young age are backed up by Chris Beardshaw, who says that since sowing seeds at the age of four his desire to grow plants has never waned.  His Wormcast Garden – ‘Growing for Life at Boveridge House’ has been created with the help of young adults from the special needs school on the Boveridge site. The garden’s purpose is to raise awareness of the Growing for Life initiative to train young adults from Boveridge in the joys and rewards of gardening.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), the UK’s leading gardening charity is firmly behind the belief that it is vital to engage children in the natural world.
“In the last year registered members of the RHS Schools Membership Scheme1 has risen by 19%, and places on our Continuing Professional Development (CPD) days book up instantly,” says Jacky Chave, RHS Principal Education Officer. “Many parents and teachers are seeing what a fantastic place the garden can be for children in a whole host of ways.” She continues, “When children get the opportunity to have hands-on experience of growing plants, fruit and vegetables it helps them connect with the environment around them, and not only understand more about plant science, but understand where their food comes from.”

In Spring 2007 the RHS Bicentenary Glasshouse is due to open at RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey. Within the structure will be housed a Growing Lab, classroom and teaching garden. The new Bicentenary Glasshouse and Learning Centre will provide an enhanced, high quality, flexible space for people of all ages to learn about plants and growing them. It will extend the reach of the RHS’s existing schools programme beyond Primary age and create new learning opportunities with an emphasis on hands-on experiences. The numbers of schoolchildren visiting the garden will increase from 4,000 to over 7,000 each year, within the first four years.

For more information about the work of the RHS Education department please visit www.rhs.org.uk/education

The RHS Schools Membership Scheme, which has nearly 4000 registered members, is offered free of charge.   Schools that join the scheme are sent a newsletter with complimentary seeds each term and a copy of the RHS magazine ‘The Garden’, each month. The newsletter offers ideas on what to do in your school garden and how to bring practical gardening and plant science to life for children.