A passion for gardening, enthusiasm and skill as a junior horticulturist has won Heather Birkby, 14, the title of RHS Young School Gardener of the Year 2015.
Heather (pictured right), from Broughton High School, Preston, joined 82-year-old Peter Edwards, a gardening volunteer at the Rosary Catholic Primary School, Heston, and a 15-strong group of pupils from Palmerston School in Liverpool in receiving awards as part of the RHS Campaign for School Gardening.
The awards - commemorative engraved trowels - were presented by ITV’s Love Your Garden presenter Frances Tophill. Winning Team of the Year - Palmerston School - will receive a visit from Frances this autumn. Winners will also receive prizes including £500 in gardening vouchers for their school, a selection of gardening tools, and the offer of working alongside RHS gardeners for a day in one of the Society’s spectacular gardens. The winning Team of the Year will also receive a top-of-the-range greenhouse donated by Keder Greenhouses.
Heather wowed the judges with her extensive horticultural knowledge, and her natural ability to engage those around her. From demonstrating her grafting skills in the greenhouse on heritage fruit cultivars to championing plants for pollinators and designing a sensory garden for adults with dementia, Heather’s confidence and contribution earned her top marks.
Awards were also given to Livvy Temme (aged six) from Ashton Gate Primary School in Bristol who was winner of the Key Stage 1 age group, Jasmin Foster-Leslie (11) from Ysgol Llangynfelyn in Powys who came top of the Key Stage 2 age group, and 15-year-old Ben Moore from Cirencester Deer Park School in Gloucestershire who was named winner of the Key Stage 4 age group.
In the RHS School Gardening Champion category, Peter Edwards (pictured above), an 82-year-old gardening volunteer at the Rosary Catholic Primary School in Heston, Middlesex, was recognised for his enthusiasm and tireless dedication. Peter regularly spends up to five days a week at the school assisting pupils.
Palmerston School, Liverpool, winners of RHS School Gardening Team of the Year 2015, were chosen for their incredible teamwork and enthusiasm. Through the group’s hard work and determination, the school – which supports pupils with severe or profound learning difficulties – now has a dedicated gardening area.
The videos produced by the winners, alongside those of other finalists, can be viewed online.