[Q]ueen Elizabeth Grammar School in Penrith’s Gardening Club has won a Royal Horticultural Society Award.
Recently re-formed by teacher Mark Rosa, who joined QEGS’ mathematics department in September, the gardening club has achieved the Royal Horticultural Society’s School Gardening Awards Level 1. The award includes a certificate and a colourful growing year calendar full of sowing and growing tips.
The award criteria included: Showing an understanding of the benefits of gardening to young adults; and having a plan for the garden’s development.
Mr Rosa said: “I am so proud that the students have achieved Level 1 so quickly and look forward to helping them achieve the highest certification – Level 5.”
“Gardening is a constant surprise; you have to take a long term view and you never know what will work and what won’t, so you learn lessons all the time. It’s like a miracle watching a whole plant grow from a small seed. We’ve started with a small, but dedicated, group and I hope more students will be inspired to join us as they see green shoots springing up.
Larch Cottage Nursery in Melkinthorpe has lent its support to the club, donating seeds, seed trays and compost to help get the garden growing. Nursery staff have also agreed to host the student gardeners at the nursery for an afternoon, so they can learn first-hand from professional growers.
The club members have already successfully cleared and prepared the school’s three raised beds for planting. They have planted some garlic and are making preparations for further early sowings in late winter. As well as some flowers, the students hope to grow a wide range of vegetables, including peas, pumpkins and potatoes. A home-grown feast is being planned for July to celebrate the harvest.
Gardening Club member Angelina Shcherbakova, Year 11, said: “I joined gardening club because it’s something nice and fun to do for school and it’s also quite relaxing. I do a lot of gardening, I’m more or less in charge of the garden at home.
I would like to plant an apple tree at school; we’re going to grow some berries and we’re going to try to grow a pineapple.”
The Gardeners have also identified a site within the school grounds for the creation of a new, relaxed garden, centred around the old school pond. Parents have got behind the club, donating seeds, equipment and a hand-made bird box.