Horticultural festival

Thirty schools across York have been given a ‘wheelie’ good idea – to create a magical miniature garden as part of the City’s first horticultural festival, Bloom!

The brainchild of Make It York, the festival is supported by York Business Improvement District and dozens of local businesses and organisations.

As part of the festival, each school has been tasked with creating a garden in a brightly coloured, 85-litre wheelbarrow.

Along with the wheelbarrow, the schools are also receiving a bag of peat-free, nationally accredited compost produced locally by Yorganics from the garden waste recycled by householders in York.

The schools are now working on their miniature gardens and all 30 wheelbarrows will be displayed in York City Centre for the duration of the Bloom! festival (5th-8th July 2018) for visitors to view and for judging to take place.

The winning school will receive £500 worth of gardening and outdoor equipment, with the runner-up receiving £250 worth of landscaping supplies from Selby-based Stones4Homes, suppliers of slates, gravels, chippings, pebbles, cobbles, top soil and bark products.

Lotte Inch, Festival Curator for Bloom!, said: “2018 sees the 250th anniversary of the Ancient Society of York Florists, to celebrate the City’s first horticultural festival.

“There will many exciting activities over the four-day festival, celebrating York’s horticultural heritage.

“We are looking for schools to create the most creative, imaginative and quirky miniature gardens within their wheelbarrows. This could be a fairy garden, a magical garden, a miniature version of an existing garden with water features, a tree house, a greenhouse, people, animals… the possibilities are endless.

“The garden must, however, include at least three living plants, although more is even better, and the rest can be made from whatever can be sourced. We would particularly like to see the use of recycled or reclaimed items and lots of colour.”

One of the schools taking part is New Earswick Primary School on the outskirts of York.

Abby Pennick, EYFS Lead, said: “The children are planning to make a fairy garden and are very much looking forward to getting started.”

Steven Graham, Community Liaison Manager from Hungate Regeneration, who are sponsoring the project and the purchase of the wheelbarrows, said: “We are delighted to be the headline sponsor of such a fantastic initiative; which is part of the wider Bloom! festival celebrating York’s amazing horticultural history.”

Sam Wright, Yorganics’ Field Sales Executive, said: “We are pleased the schools will be using our compost and hopefully it will help to grow some amazing things in the wheelbarrow.

“As the compost is made from the garden waste recycled by people in York and North Yorkshire, the children will effectively be using something which started life in their own home, so as well as being lots of fun, the competition will also teach them about the importance of closed loop recycling.”

Shaun Robson, Managing Director of Stones4Homes, which as well as providing a competition prize will also be delivering the wheelbarrows and compost to the schools, said: “We are excited about being part of such a fantastic competition and are looking forward to seeing what the children come up with.

“Hopefully it will help to identify the gardeners of the future!”

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