EAST MIDLANDS IN BLOOM! Best School Garden Special Award and supplementary awards for schools:

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1 2015 EAST MIDLANDS IN BLOOM Best School Garden Special Award and supplementary awards for schools: Best Fruit and Vegetable Gardening Best Gardening for Wildlife Best Ornamental Gardening Information pack for participating Bloom Groups and Schools Introduction page 2 The supplementary awards page 2 Who can enter? page 2 Guidance for schools page 3 Judging criteria page 3 The Awards page 4 Fruit & vegetable gardening page 4 Gardening for wildlife page 5 Ornamental gardening page 5 Judging page 5 Your gardening year page 5 Preparing for the judges visit page 6 The judges visit page 6 Results and Awards page 6 Help and advice details page 7 Contact addresses: East Midlands in Bloom enquiries to: To download entry forms: Schools Judging Coordinator: Graham Lamb: Greener Streets:Better Lives is the theme for this year s RHS Britain in Bloom & It s Your Neighbourhood Campaign. Page 1 of 7

2 INTRODUCTION East Midlands in Bloom is an annual campaign, organised by the East Midlands in Bloom Committee, open to villages, towns, cities and urban communities in Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland, which aims to encourage local people and organisations to improve the local environment through horticulture, environmental responsibility and community participation including the involvement of local schools. In 2007 East Midlands in Bloom introduced a special award for the Best School Garden. The aim of this information pack, and the judging, is to help and encourage schools gain as much as possible from gardening activities for their pupils and from entering for the School Awards. East Midlands in Bloom also organises an art competition and a digital photography competition for all school aged children and young people. Full details and entry forms can be found at THE SUPPLEMENTARY AWARDS In addition to the award for the Overall Best School Garden in the East Midlands, these awards have been introduced to recognise the best gardens and gardening activities in the following categories: Best Fruit and Vegetable Gardening Best Gardening for Wildlife Best Ornamental Gardening A school can be considered for only one of these specialist awards and should enter by ticking the relevant box on the entry form. See also page 4. WHO CAN ENTER? In 2015 the number of schools that can enter from categories is as shown below. Schools that are not in a Bloom entry area can also enter independently as long as they do not exceed the allocation which is as follows: Small Village, Village & Large Village - one school Small Town, Town, Large Town, Urban Community and Coastal - two schools Small City, City, Large City - three schools For Schools: Your local Bloom group may well approach you to enter. If you have found out about the campaign but have not been approached by your local In Bloom group, and you would like to enter, you should first find out if you have a local In Bloom group and if they have already entered a school (contact East Midlands in Bloom on or If there isn t a local group in your area, you can still enter the campaign as long as the quota of schools has not been exceeded in that category (please refer to the list above). If in any doubt, please contact East Midlands in Bloom, details above. Page 2 of 7

3 The earlier the school agrees/decides to enter the more time it has to prepare the gardens. If you have decided to enter please complete the application form and return it to be received no later than Friday 5 th June The judges would appreciate receiving your entry as soon as possible as this is of considerable help when organising the judging dates and routes across the region. GUIDANCE FOR SCHOOLS While the award looks to find the school, across the range of judging criteria, with the best garden and gardening activities for its pupils, we have also become aware that some schools have chosen to concentrate on a particular aspect of gardening such as for example, growing vegetables or gardening for wildlife or you have developed an excellent ornamental garden area. If you have one garden area that is well established you should still consider entering and aim for one of the new supplementary awards. Creating lovely gardens takes time and your garden does not have to be complete or perfect. By entering the campaign you can gain an indication of the level you have achieved to date, as well as the judge s comments and suggestions. On pages 4 and 5 there are some ideas, which we hope will inspire and help you as well as give an indication of how to be a winner in one of the categories. The judging criteria cover a wide range of gardening activities, which we hope children will be participating in. While we appreciate that adults will need to help children in their gardening activities and that for health and safety reasons some activities may therefore be carried out by adults, we do expect to see the maximum possible participation by children. Gardens created for children and maintained for them by adults without their participation cannot be entered in the campaign. JUDGING CRITERIA AND DESCRIPTIONS There are five judging criteria and each section is marked out of 20, giving a maximum possible score of GARDENING ACTIVITIES, SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE 20% Demonstrable involvement of each class and maximum practicable number of pupils in activities that introduce them to gardening and develop their skills and knowledge. Year round growing activities and gardening club(s) with regular meetings. Use of raised beds or plots and introducing pupils to the principles of rotation, timing and growing cycle of a range of crops, annuals, and perennials with some basic plant recognition. 2. THE GARDEN S CONTRIBUTION TO EDUCATION AND THE CURRICULUM 20% Classes held outdoors and use of outdoor classroom. Imaginative use of the garden in teaching in a wide range of curriculum subjects. 3. VALUE IN SUSTAINING THE ENVIRONMENT AND WILDLIFE 20% Effective composting and water collection to sustain the garden through the year. Planting to encourage wildlife e.g. woodland areas with good tree planting practice, native planting, wild flowers etc Examples of features for wildlife e.g. ponds, log piles, hedgehog houses, bird/bat or insect boxes etc. Evidence of wildlife observation. Page 3 of 7

4 4. GROWING FRUIT AND VEGETABLES AND HEALTHY EATING 20% Demonstrable evidence of pupils involvement in and knowledge of growing food in their garden and then making use of it. (Tasting sessions through to use in cookery or the school kitchen where possible). Food awareness from plot to plate. 5. DESIGN, MANAGEMENT AND MAINTENANCE 20% Bedding displays and Garden layouts aesthetic and practical elements including accessibility, health and safety issues. Organisation, location and practical use of gardens and growing areas. Overall impression plant quality, colour and variety, attention to detail and well maintained hard landscape features. Care and maintenance by pupils. Holiday maintenance arrangements. Plans for the garden and its development. Links to good quality advice and schemes (RHS, Garden Organic, Food for Life, local horticultural enterprise or experts) THE AWARDS Every school that enters the campaign will receive a copy of the judge s report and a certificate. The levels of awards are as follows: 85% + Gold 75-84% Silver Gilt 60-74% Silver 50-59% Bronze 0-49% Certificate of Achievement SUPPLEMENTARY AWARDS ONE AWARD GIVEN IN EACH SECTION: What might make your school an award winner? These are some ideas that you might like to try but the judges will be equally as interested in your ideas and projects. We do not expect you to be trying all of these ideas but you might like to consider a few of them. Many of the ideas have come from schools the judges have visited in the last few years. FRUIT AND VEGETABLE GARDENING Are you growing a wide range of fruit and vegetables? Are you in the process of extending your growing, for example, by planting fruit trees or bushes? Perhaps you are experimenting by growing lots of varieties of some vegetables to see which grows the best or tastes the best or are trying some unusual vegetables. Are you trying some heritage varieties or crops you have never grown before? Are you using your crops in cookery classes or special projects such as class picnics or meals and trying to encourage everyone to eat more fruit and vegetables? Are you growing herbs and using them in cookery as well? Have you tried growing green manures to improve your soil? Are you using successional sowing to provide a longer season of cropping? Have you found out about the history of some of the fruit and vegetables you grow? Perhaps you have set yourselves the challenge to grow all your vegetable plants from seed. Page 4 of 7

5 GARDENING FOR WILDLIFE Have you had a tree planting project? Are you growing wild flowers from seed? Have you made bird or bat boxes, hedgehog homes or bug hotels or other features for wildlife? Have you tried having your own spring or autumn watch? Are you fortunate enough to have your own webcam in a nesting box? Do you grow plants, such as sunflowers, to provide food for the birds? Have you created a new habitat? Perhaps you are restoring an area or renovating an overgrown pond. Maybe you are trying to encourage more birds to visit your school with lots of different feeders. Perhaps you have been fund raising to buy food to supply your bird table and feeders. Have you put in more plants to attract bees and butterflies? ORNAMENTAL GARDENING Good ornamental gardens have a mix of small trees, shrubs, climbing plants, a good range of perennials, flowering at different times, grasses and other foliage plants, bulbs and annuals. Planters and attractive areas of bedding plants can greet visitors and promote the school to visitors. Are you trying to extend the range of plants in your garden or around your school grounds? Have you created a new border to brighten up a dull area? Do you have lots of containers with annual and/or perennial planting? Do you grow your own plants for your hanging baskets? Have you learnt how to make more plants by dividing big plants or by taking cuttings? Do you also grow colourful annual plants from seed? Throughout the year are there interesting plants to look at in your garden? Is there nearly always something flowering in your garden? JUDGING An East Midlands in Bloom judge will visit your school at a pre-arranged and agreed* date during the judging period which is from Monday 22 rd June to Friday 10 th July *The judge will contact you approximately three weeks before the judging weeks to arrange a suitable time for the visit. We appreciate that the term may end at different times depending on your area and if at all possible we will try to avoid coming during the last week of your term. Depending on the size of your garden the judge will allocate a maximum of one hour to see your garden. YOUR GARDENING YEAR As the judging can only take place on one day towards the end of June or in July we ask you to provide the judge with information about your gardens and gardening activities at other times of the year. This can be provided in several different formats or a combination of these. The following are some suggestions: Page 5 of 7

6 The children taking the judge(s) around the garden can talk about projects and activities they have been involved in. They could also read from prepared notes they or other children have written. If you have a current, or recent, display in school showing some aspects of your gardening or curriculum work linked to the garden, show this to the judge. Show the judge a series of photos you may have saved on a computer. Collect together some examples of children s work where you have linked the curriculum to the garden. One example for each subject would be sufficient. The more variety you can demonstrate the more help it is, rather than the work of the whole class for one subject. Put together a scrap book or file with photographs, notes about your gardens, projects and activities. Please only show the judge material that relates to this year's award i.e. from September 2014 to June/July 2015, unless you are showing some before and after photos of a developing garden project. PREPARING FOR THE JUDGE S VISIT It is very important to note that the Judges wish to be accompanied on their garden tour by children who are involved in the gardens, so the children can demonstrate their understanding and knowledge. We would suggest a minimum of four children. Perhaps children could be ready to talk about a specific part of the garden. They could also prepare information to read out at various points of the tour. THE JUDGE S VISIT The judging will need to go ahead at the pre-arranged time regardless of the weather. While viewing the gardens, with your permission, the judge would like to take photographs of the gardens and one with the children. Photographs can help the judge afterwards when writing up their report and photos of the winning school garden will be shown at the East Midlands in Bloom Presentation of Awards, which will be held on Wednesday 16 th September 2015 at Rutland Water Golf Club, Rutland. It is possible your local In Bloom group may also want to include your school on their route when your local area is being judged, although this is likely to only be a brief visit. They will arrange this directly with you. Please note; this may be on a different date to that planned for the Special Award for Best School Garden judging. RESULTS AND AWARDS The overall winning school and the winners of the supplementary awards will be invited to send representatives to the Awards Presentation in September. No details of the awards will be announced before this event. Every participating school will receive a certificate and a judge s report either from their local In Bloom group following the Awards Presentation or it will be sent directly to the named contact and address on the entry form. Soon after the awards ceremony all the reports are made available on the East Midlands in Bloom web site. Page 6 of 7

7 HELP AND ADVICE If you would like any more information or advice about the EMiB campaign or to locate your local In Bloom group, please contact: Irene Bates, EMiB Secretary Tel: or E mail: For advice on judging visits, please contact Graham Lamb, EMiB Best School Garden Judging Coordinator at: Page 7 of 7

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