Jan Holmes, from the Hayling Island Horticultural Society talks about judging the schools garden competition
The competition, which is open to each of the island’s schools, is organised by the Society and sponsored generously by the Hayling Lions Club.
Marilyn Skennerton was the judge representing the Lions Club.
The garden had to measure 2.5m x 1.5m and the children could develop the garden as they wished in order to represent a cottage garden.
The children were encouraged to liaise with parents, grandparents or helpers and had to keep a record of their work in a scrapbook.
We were amazed by the innovative and varied approach of the record- keeping, so the delightful scrapbooks were displayed at the Mid-Summer Horticultural Show.
The criteria the gardens were judged on included use of appropriate plants, the overall design of the garden, health of the plants, lack of weeds, dead heading and general tidiness.
We were impressed and delighted with the creative ideas with which all the children approached the project and it was clear they understood many of the basic principles of gardening.
All the schools had fulfilled the criteria and had shown some individuality of response.
We liked the bark chip path through the woods of saplings at Mengham First School, the sweet peas and the beautiful scrapbook at Mill Rythe were impressive, and the bright and cheerful garden at the Hayling College reflected the greater maturity of the students.
We could not differentiate between those schools.
But the one outstanding garden was at Mengham Junior School.
The dedicated team who were responsible for the garden seemed to have a torrent of ideas.
They took the initial challenge and ran with it, into all aspects of the curriculum. They made bird scarers and garden ornaments with the art club, they grew plants in wellies and built a beehive.
Accordingly, we awarded them the first prize, and gave joint second prizes to the other very deserving schools.
We hope the children take this enthusiasm for gardening with them through life.
Thanks go to the staff at all the schools that supported this project and welcomed us during their busy day.
Most of all, the tremendous effort of Jan Mitchell of HIHS should be applauded.