Talented junior gardeners at the Royal High School in Bath are celebrating after sowing the seeds for success in a prestigious Royal Horticultural Society competition for schools.

The Year 3 pupils took up the challenge to create a show garden for the RHS Budding Gardeners Competition back in the spring and have just beaten scores of other schools nationwide to scoop the top prize in their category. The seven and eight year old girls walked away with the Best in Show Acorn Award (Early Years – Key Stage 2) in the final at RHS Garden Wisley last week.

Schools from across the UK took up the RHS challenge to create a mini-garden to be displayed at Wisley with the theme ‘A Wildlife Garden’, aimed at educating children about the importance of designing gardens with a view to encouraging wildlife in view of the decline of many native species. The Royal High pupils began planning their garden way back in February and even grew their plants from seed on the classroom windowsill while sketching designs for their 1x1m garden.

The girls designed each part of the garden, even learning how to sculpt willow and building bird feeders and a bug hotel from natural materials found in the school grounds. They also documented each stage of their work with photographs and supplemented their entry with a book detailing their work which was praised by the judges.

The garden was tenderly nurtured at the school in a small raised flowerbed before it was carefully transported to Wisley for the final.

KS2 Teacher Emma Appleby, also Head of Outdoor Learning and Discovery at the Royal High Junior School, said, “The girls planned and made their gardens from conception to creation. There was a mix of herbs, edible plants, vegetables, grass, wildflowers, some annuals like Cosmos and trees. They even added a mini path made from slices of wood, on which the names of all the plants were written.”

As well as winning the Gold Medal, the winning Royal High Junior School team also received garden tools and an engraved trowel, which will go on display at the school.

This is a particularly poignant moment for Mrs Sue Brett who, along with Ms Appleby, helped to guide the girls in this project as teaching assistant. Mrs Brett is retiring from the school this year after an incredible 35 years of service! She is a much treasured and talented colleague who has encouraged and helped scores of Royal High School pupils in many ways during her remarkable career.