Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Starting young ...

School children ready for a day at the Spring Gardening Show
Have you ever considered as you walk around the Showground, absorbing the beauty of the gardens and so many plant nursery delights, from whence stems all this inspiration? We all have to begin somewhere, and so very often, what we are introduced to in childhood becomes first an interest, and for some the passion of a lifetime. For me there were many triggers which began over 70 years ago walking with my grandmother in the Surrey woods. What I unknowingly absorbed then and later now fuels much that goes on in my eclectic garden and orchard, my writing, my travels, my creative journals; in fact these childhood beginnings have taken over my whole life.

Enthusiastic, bright-eyed children explain to me their participation at the 2012 Show
Why this preamble? I want to introduce you to the educational side of  Malvern and to the Society's commitment to working with children through all ages and stages of education - over the entire year. Marvellous work is undertaken on the Showground and in schools under the auspices of Education Officer, Sue Hodgson-Jones. 

The children just love talking to visitors about their garden
A culmination for many youngsters is their fantastic work at the Spring Gardening Show – gardens designed by school and college groups and created under much the same conditions as those you will see by adult and professional designers. The children’s enthusiasm is boundless; talk to them about what they create – they are knowledgeable and dedicated, as are their teachers and tutors; what they do goes far beyond curriculum specifications.

These pupils, with their classmates, based their whole exhibit 
on a storybook
This year the theme is truly inspiring – and even more educational than usual. Sixteen gardens are to be created by pupils from nursery age right through to college students. Their chosen theme will be based on 'Storytelling': book titles, or aspects thereof. The uninitiated may not realise the significance of this; a book has to be thoroughly understood before it can be interpreted in a creative, living format.

The style of school gardens often takes you by surprise - ingenious use of recycling in this one

No children? There was so much detail in this garden 
that we could only photograph it during their lunch break 
- and this is only a part of it
The ‘School Garden Project Challenge’ is a regular event at the Spring Gardening Show and all participating establishments are as keen as ever this year to be involved. Their remit this year is to “Design, plan and build you a 24sqm Show Garden.” 

Many schools also displayed additional work from school and even set up shop!
The project is extremely rewarding and offers pupils and students the chance to learn a wide range of skills (planning, gardening, communication and team work). It also encompasses many National Curriculum subjects; and many schools display some of their classwork at the Show.

In safe hands: BAM Construct supply help and support
(see green display board in the background)
Support is offered throughout the whole process, and particularly from Show Sponsors BAM Construct who are available throughout the show garden build-up, which for schools begins on 18th April, just three weeks before the opening day of the Show.

Always popular is the 'Discovery Zone' with plenty of hands-on activities
Apart from the youngsters’ show gardens, there is educational fun for all the family within the adjacent ‘Discovery Zone’ marquee. Take a look here at some of the activities on offer.

Notebook at the ready - and a fund of knowledge to impart to visitors
I was pleased to have the opportunity at a previous Show to talk
to Chris Beardshaw about his views on the importance of
educational participation at these shows.
The Education Section is situated between Rows 5 and 7, next to the main Show Gardens. With the Spring Gardens Coffee Court alongside, there’s no excuse for neglecting the work of pupils and students! So please find time to visit this important and pleasurable aspect of the Show; your support will encourage the children and help them to discover just how passionate we ALL are about gardens and gardening. Or we would not be at Malvern, would we?

For more details on Three Counties Educational Activities, please visit the website.

WHY NOT ALSO TAKE A LOOK AT THESE PAGES, TOO?  (Just click on the links):
Love our Shows, Like our Facebook Page - Facebook.com/threecounties
Malvern Autumn Show

AND PLEASE KEEP VISITING Ann's Malvern Jotter: I’ll be blogging again every week during the Show build-up, and daily 'live' during the actual Show. I also recommend regular clicks onto the Spring Gardening Show website for regular updates and more breaking news.


  1. Ann thanks for all this information. I have shared it with kidsinthegarden facebook followers. I usually stick with the RHS's Shows in the South East. I had no idea all this was happening at Malvern. Its now on my list of shows to visit.

    1. Lynda, if you can possibly get here, I am sure you will love it. Although I go to RHS Shows in other parts of the country, Hampton Court included, Malvern honestly is still my favourite. It's partly the location but also the incredibly friendly and helpful permanent staff. And there is more going on than ever this year. I'm on Facebook, so do message me if you are coming.

  2. I spent quite a bit of time talking to some of the children who had contributed to some of the gardens at the show last year,they were all so enthusiastic about what they had made.I actually ran a gardening club at our local primary school and am hoping to start one at the children's hospice where I work as the children can get so much out of seeing things grow however big or small

    1. Flowerlady, you are so right. I have a marvellous book on the therapy of gardening. You've given me an idea,:as I have a couple of extra posts now running up to the Show, maybe I will weave it into the story.