Stewart Garden Schools Programme 2017 winner announced

Victoria Road Primary School has been announced as the winner of the Stewart Garden Schools Programme for 2017.

Based in Northwich, Cheshire, Victoria Road scooped the top prize of £1,000 to spend at their local garden centre.

They beat off stiff competition from Southbourne Infant School in Hampshire, Bernard Gilpin Primary School, Tyne & Wear, and Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School, Oxfordshire. All three runners-up collected £100 to spend at their local garden centre.

Aimed at young students between the ages of six and 11, the competition encourages kids to get creative with products that are exclusive to Stewart Garden.

The pupils of Victoria Road took top honours after impressing judges with their inventive use of the Stewart Garden kit. They transformed a small growing area into a garden that any adult enthusiast would be proud of.

Armed with their kit, which included flower pots, watering cans, an unheated propagator, a scoop, seed trays and an informative booklet, the winning school displayed talent that belied their young years.

Judge Val Bourne, a well-known garden writer, said: “The school’s entry showed a wonderful amount of child participation and enthusiasm for gardening and growing. I loved the use of old wellies which were planted up with flower seeds. They made very vivid and fabulous planters – I know what to do with my old wellies now!

“The class made bottle gardens and hung them on the school fence. The headteacher said that they were like little jewels.”

The Stewart Garden School Programme was established in 2012 and Victoria Road are the sixth winners, following on from Cutcombe Church of England First School, Somerset, who won first prize in 2016.

Last year’s winners impressed judges with their science experiments, their enthusiasm for gardening and their community spirit.

This year’s winners had a different approach but, crucially, their enthusiasm for gardening was just as impressive.

Stewart Garden managing director Andy Burns was hugely impressed by the work of the winning school. He said: “The school’s work was excellent. It’s great to see how young people maximise our products and witness their passion for gardening and growing vegetables. The judges were impressed that Victoria Road Primary School integrated the programme into its curriculum.”

Victoria Road Primary School teaching assistant Karen Roberts added: “Our students have so much passion for gardening and the whole school is ecstatic to have won this year’s Stewart Garden Schools Programme.”