School gardens reap gold

Issue: Volume 97, Number 5

Posted: 23 March 2018
Reference #: 1H9i4c

Gold-winning creations by primary school students were among the stars at the country’s top garden design and horticulture show in November.

Roscommon School in Manurewa, Auckland designed an entry that reflects the school’s commitment to environmental awareness.

The New Zealad Flower and Garden Show 2017 held in Auckland was a celebration of gardening, horticulture and design, and included a category for schools to compete in by creating a themed garden of their own choosing.

Eight schools took part in the competition organised by the Garden To Table Trust, which works with schools and students to foster food knowledge and growing skills.

All gardens were judged on their own merits and the standard was so high that four out of the eight entries won a gold award. 

There was a fixed space to work within – the schools had to design and build a 4.8 square-metre garden bed – but, apart from that, imaginations could run riot. They could pick any theme and the only rule was that edible plants had to be included in the design. 

The displays proved a real hit amongst show-goers, including a much talked-about ‘Recycled Garden’ by Roscommon School in Manurewa, Auckland, which featured brightly painted planters made out of milk bottles, tyres used as garden seats and even a letterbox that used to be a microwave oven.

An upturned umbrella placed on a door was filled with water and used as a flower vase, and the creative kids also showed that decorative art can be made from everyday things. A striking circular artwork featuring a flower was made entirely of reused plastic bags (see photo) from supermarkets. Yellow petals were created out of woven Pak’nSave bags, and the white background came from recycled New World bags.

The other gold winners were Dawson School in Otara, Auckland, (with theme of Kari Ki Te Tepu, or Learning In Nature); Bellevue Montessori School in Tauranga (Food Over Fear); and Karaka School, south of Auckland (Country School Hideout).

Bellevue Montessori School in Tauranga’s garden demonstrated that even a place which may look foreboding can be full of useful plants.

Bellevue’s entry showed how many plants that are regarded as weeds, or negatively in other ways, are actually useful or can be eaten, such as dandelion, borage, plantain, dock, nasturtium and fennel. It featured an abandoned lot and house to demonstrate that even a place which may look foreboding and infertile – and with a warning sign – could be full of surprises.

Roscommon School Operations Manager Tania Lunjevich was in charge of the Recycled Garden entry. She says it reflects the school’s values and commitment to environmental awareness, recycling and sustainability, and that links it to the curriculum.

Each class at the school has a garden, and the Year 7/8 kids were “blown away” by the gold medal result, she says. “Winning motivates the children, as well as teachers and parents. There’s a huge sense of pride at what we have achieved.” Their entry was a joint effort and had contributions from over 100 students.

The school now has a garden centre with a greenhouse, a fenced-off area with raised beds, and a potting-up area, thanks to a design by Enviro teacher Koteka Cuthers, who has also been fully involved in the Garden to Table programme.

‘Whakapono ki a koe’ or ‘Believe in yourself’ is the school motto which underpins much of the learning.

Established in 2008, Garden to Table now works with over 6,000 primary-school-aged children across New Zealand, helping them discover a love for fresh food and skills that will last a lifetime. 

Its goal is to change the way children approach and think about food, encouraging them to get their hands dirty and learn how enjoyable it is to grow, harvest, prepare and share fresh, seasonal food.

Find out more about "Garden to Table(external link)". 

Student response

“Winning was cool, and really motivates the students to continue recycling.”

Torian Boroevich-Gage, 12, Roscommon School 


BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 9:30 am, 23 March 2018

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