Hot on the heels of the interest in children’s gardening at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show many garden centres, schools, families, communities and organisations, and of course children, celebrated the joy of gardening and outdoor activities during National Children’s Gardening Week (NCGW) that took place from 25 May to 2 June.
The week, now in its fifth year, saw the hashtag #NationalChildrensGardeningWeek trending across social media and families heading into garden centres to enjoy garden themed fun workshops and more. During the week, Facebook posts reached over 250,000 and Twitter saw a reach of over 340,000.
The initiative, supported by National Garden Gift Vouchers, saw many HTA members providing fun activities that encouraged children to explore plants and gardening, and generally enjoy being outdoors with nature.
HTA director of membership Martin Simmons, commented: “It is really encouraging to see so much interest in National Children’s Gardening Week with so many great examples of how growers, retailers and suppliers have all got involved. There has been a real buzz on social media with individuals, businesses and organisations sharing ideas and images of their own activities helping to spread the word about the benefits of getting children involved in gardening.”
Neil Grant, from Ferndale Garden Centre, who founded National Children’s Gardening Week added: “It was all ways my dream to see garden centres make an impact on children’s lives. Watching the way #nationalchildrensgardeningweek hashtag has swept the internet shows how the ornamental horticulture industry has touched the emotions of families all over the UK, literally from north Scotland to the south coast. Libraries, book clubs & mums exercise groups have supported our campaign and also many businesses not connected to our industry. We may have reached a tipping point of influence. Even Prue Leith joined in with her grandchildren and tweeted about it. Who can we reach next year?”
HTA Member activities included:
Poplars Garden Centre held a free Planting and Fun with Food workshop where children could plant up geraniums and spider plants and create fun food creatures like Apple Monsters.
Aylett Nurseries put on seed planting and plant label making activities, Ferndale Garden Centre held workshops for young gardeners, Old Railway Line Garden Centre held a free plant geranium workshop
Coolings Garden Centre held art and craft sessions having fun with the likes of sand art pictures.
Chessington Garden Centre had a busy week with its Kids Club where visiting children could create a birdfeeder, vegetable garden or wildlife windchime.
Longacres Bagshot the hunt was on to find the NCGW’ characters in store to win garden centre vouchers.
Bents Garden and Home had a range of children’s painting events to keep the little ones busy including bird box, terracotta pot and ceramic painting.
Wyevale Garden Centres put on craft events throughout half term as part of its Little Diggers initiative including Make a bird home, Create a bird buddy, Grow your own mini garden, Flower power pot and Feed the birds.
Dunston Hall Garden Centre visited local primary schools to help them build and plant a new planter full of lots of exciting plants.
Members were also busy on Facebook with the likes of Haskins Garden Centres sharing ‘How to create cress heads’ as part of its Garden Gang club, Westland Horticulture promoting its children’s gardening range, and Van Hage showing off its little fingers fun and friendly plant products. Meanwhile on Twitter Suttons Seeds celebrated NCGW by giving followers a chance to win The Daddy & Ottoman garden bean bags, and Greenfingers Charity, NCGW’s charity partner, ran a Greenfingers Goodies competition to get little ones growing! Other members getting involved online included Cranborne Garden Centre and Cherry Lane Garden Centre.
Johnsons of Whixley provided plants for local schoolchildren to cultivate. Johnsons donated 180 lavender plants – one for every pupil – to Tockwith Church of England Primary Academy. Children took them home to plant with their parents over half term.
At the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019, the HTA’s ‘Helping Children Grow’ exhibit, supported by National Garden Gift Vouchers, attracted lots of families as well as nursery and primary school workers. The exhibit, which featured in the Discovery Zone of the Great Pavilion, promoted National Children’s Gardening Week and featured fun and inspiring projects such as edible planters, a pizza wheel, runner bean tipis and a wildlife hotel.
Nearly 300 schools entered the National Children’s Gardening Week schools competition which saw them create square metre plots for pupils to grow in. Pictures of the plots were then shared on facebook. The winning schools, who received National Garden Gift Voucher prizes were: Ysgol Pen Y Bryn from Colwyn Bay, Dame Dorothy Primary School in Sunderland, Fyvie Primary School in Fyvie, Edward Francis Primary School in Rayleigh and St Patricks RC Primary School in Sunderland.