RHS Chelsea Flower Show garden beds in at London school

RHS Chelsea Flower Show garden beds in at London school: The first ever RHS Chelsea Flower Show garden designed by and for children has been relocated to its permanent home at Sulivan Primary School in southwest London.

The RHS No Adults Allowed Garden was designed by pupils from the school and award-winning garden designer Harry Holding and was visited by HRH King Charles III and Queen Camilla. Reimagined to suit its new setting in the school grounds, the unique garden will now be a lasting feature for pupils to explore, learn and play in, as well as take care of.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show garden beds in at London school

RHS Chelsea Flower Show garden beds in at London school

Nearly all elements from the original show garden have been transferred to the school, with the exception of the stream and rock pool. Instead, the subterranean den is set within a sea of wildflowers and has been reimagined by treehouse builders Root and Shoot into a sustainable climbing frame using timber from RHS Garden Wisley and rubber from waste material. Sculptural clay elements, crafted by land artist Finbar Ward and decorated by pupils, which previously adorned a wall within the show garden have now been positioned on the façade of the school itself.

As part of the relocation, the layout of the show garden has been adapted to suit the school’s setting, which is surrounded by a number of mature trees.  A path through the garden separates two distinct areas; one is low intervention with a wildflower meadow, a composting zone and dead hedges which provide habitats for wildlife, while the more cultivated side of the garden is packed with a variety of bold and colourful summer plants including kniphofias and gladioli, as well as edibles such as strawberries.

Wendy Aldridge, Headteacher at Sulivan Primary School, said: “We are so excited to welcome the RHS No Adults Allowed Garden to its new home. This garden will be a fantastic resource for our pupils, allowing them to develop hands-on gardening skills and a deeper appreciation for the natural world. It provides a unique, interactive space where children can learn about biodiversity, sustainability, and the importance of caring for our environment. The collaborative process of designing and now maintaining the garden has been invaluable, fostering a strong sense of community and pride within our school.”

Harry Holding, Award-winning Garden Designer, said: “It has been such a joy to work on
this momentous project and reimagining the show garden for its permanent home has been every bit as enjoyable as preparing it for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Seeing the pupils’ excitement as they interact with the garden, both in its original form and now in its new home, has been incredibly rewarding. In its new location, the design benefits from more space, lots of mature trees, and plenty of environments to explore. This garden will provide endless opportunities for discovery and learning, and will live on to benefit thousands of children and families from the local community for years to come. I am very much looking forward to seeing how it evolves with the students’ care and creativity.”

Alana Cama, RHS Senior Learning Manager, said: “The RHS is committed to nurturing a love of gardening in children and creating opportunities for them to engage with nature in a meaningful way. By involving pupils in the design and maintenance of the garden, they have quickly cultivated a sense of responsibility and connection to the environment. We’re excited to follow the progress of the garden and to see how it inspires a love of gardening amongst the school’s pupils for years to come. This project exemplifies our mission to make gardening accessible and enjoyable for all ages, and we are thrilled to see it find a permanent home at Sulivan Primary School.”

Sulivan Primary School is a member of the RHS Campaign for School Gardening which provides teachers with free resources and training, designed to help them give more children the opportunity to learn about caring for plants and our planet through gardening, while connecting with nature and boosting their wellbeing. The RHS is committed to fostering a love of gardening across generations and ensuring that it is an accessible activity for everyone.

For information on how to get involved with the RHS Campaign for School Gardening visit: https://schoolgardening.rhs.org.uk

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