Nominations open in the search for 2023’s RHS School Gardeners of the Year

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has begun the search for stand-out school gardeners, as nominations for the 2023 competition open today.

The competition returns after a three-year hiatus, with the charity hoping to uncover the inspiring and innovative ways that schools have been growing before, during and since the pandemic.
Schools across the UK can now nominate their star gardeners in two categories:
  • RHS School Gardening Team of the Year: Celebrates an exceptional team of school gardeners who have made a difference to their school environment or local community.
  • RHS School Gardening Champion of the Year: Nominations open for a passionate, green-fingered adult who has championed gardening and growing in a school, demonstrating valuable gardening skills and inspiring pupils.
School Gardeners of the Year celebrates the many benefits of school gardening and outdoor learning, recognising the young people and adults who are championing gardening and are passionate about growing in their schools.
This year’s judging panel includes Frances Tophill, gardening presenter and author, Matt Willer, School Gardening Champion of the Year 2018 and George Hassall, RHS Young Ambassador and Young School Gardener of the Year 2014, as well as members of the RHS team.
The competition is open to any school registered to the RHS Campaign for School Gardening, which currently supports over 13,000 schools across the UK. The Campaign calls on every child to be given the chance to garden, to boost learning, hone practical skills and grow an understanding and appreciation for nature and green spaces.  
Frances Tophill, gardening presenter and author, and one of the judging panel, said: “We’re not looking for perfect gardens, we’re looking for enthusiasm, creativity and a passion for growing things. Showcasing all of the hard work happening within schools year-round can act as a catalyst for others to create green spaces that not only benefit pupils, but wildlife and the local community too. I cannot wait to read all of this year’s entries.”
Alana Cama, RHS Schools and Groups Programme Manager, added: “We know that school gardeners are harnessing the power of their plants in many ways, from providing habitats and food for wildlife to harvesting fruit and vegetables for their local community. There is huge potential for schools to use their growing spaces to tackle some of the biggest challenges we face. School Gardeners of the Year is an excellent opportunity for us to celebrate the hard work and dedication of all those passionate gardeners.”
Top prizes for this year’s winners include National Garden gift vouchers and patio glasshouses. Celebrations will be held at each of the winning schools to present the prizes and recognise their achievements.
Nominations can be made at and the deadline for applications is 5pm on Monday 27th March. The winners will be announced in June.   
For more information on the competition and advice about school gardening visit the RHS Campaign for School Gardening website:


Notes to editors

For additional information please contact Claire Thorpe in the RHS press office: [email protected]
About the RHS Campaign for School Gardening
The RHS School Gardeners of the Year competition is part of the RHS Campaign for School Gardening. Children learn how to care for plants and our planet through gardening while connecting with nature and boosting their wellbeing.
Through gardening they learn about healthy fruit and vegetables, wildlife and important life skills such as teamwork, social skills and co-operation. Using an outdoor classroom where children can learn in a fun, engaging way provides huge benefits. Information, lesson plans and advice for schools is provided online and is backed up by support from the RHS Education team and RHS Campaign for School Gardening Regional Advisors.
Schools and youth organisations can sign up to the RHS Campaign for School Gardening online:
About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) was founded in 1804 and is the UK’s largest gardening charity.
The RHS vision is to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place via its inspirational gardens and shows, science research and advisory, extensive library collections and far-reaching education and community programmes. With over 600,000 members the RHS also shares its horticultural knowledge and expertise with millions of people every year through its website and publications.
In 2021, the RHS launched its Sustainability Strategy, committing to be net positive for nature and people by 2030. The supporting RHS Planet-Friendly Gardening Campaign will continue to harness the power of the UK’s 30 million gardeners to help tackle the climate and biodiversity crisis.
We are solely funded by our members, visitors and supporters.
For more information visit
RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.