When I was first asked to be an RHS Ambassador by the RHS boss, Sue Biggs, I asked her what I would have to do.
Sue said it would be about inspiring more kids to get involved in gardening by perhaps visiting schools and on Monday I did just that, when I went to see Chaucer Junior School’s Garden, organised and ran by Kerry Wheatley.
We set off early on our 2 hour journey to Chaucer Junior School through the beautiful Peak District. When we arrived we were greeted with open arms by Kerry’s husband, Derek and instantly we felt welcomed. After meeting the headmistress, Anna Upton and other visitors, including local sculptor Rachel Carter and school governor James Dawson, I was whisked off for press photos amongst the delightful daffodils with Kerry. You can read what the Ilkeston Advertiser had to say about the visit here
Then a group of kids gathered enthusiastically, eager to ask questions. I told them who I was and a bit about what I’ve done as an RHS Ambassador. After that, I got a few pictures with the kids and they showed me their amazing garden. Their garden was packed full of flowers; what really impressed me was that they used every bit of space to fill it with plants and other bird and wildlife friendly materials.
As the kids left for their well earned break, Carmen and Korben stayed with me as they were going to help me plant some veg. First we planted some (Pentland Crowns) spuds that had been chitting in the greenhouse, then we planted loads of Red Baron onions. I also had a sneak peak of their Bug Hotel design that they have entered in the RHS Chatsworth competition – good luck with that guys!
Next, I went to a Year 4 class so they could ask me some questions. As I entered the class they all started clapping and one kid called Kieran looked very excited and later told me he loved nature and animals too. Miss Oldnall’s class had already wrote some fantastic questions on a flipchart and some were quite difficult to answer !
Gardener’s Question Time
- Katie asked – When did you first start gardening? A. When I was 4
- Oscar asked – How many years have you been gardening? A. 7 years
- Layton asked – Do you think you have inspired people to go gardening? A. Yes I think so; people tell me all the time on my blog that I have inspired them to get out and garden
- Mace asked – What is your favourite plant? A. It’s a Japanese Maple Bonsai !
- Alfie asked – What did the Queen say to you? A. She spoke in a really posh voice and said, “are these for me?” and “which of these came from your garden”
- Erin asked – Who supported you the most? A. My Mum and Dad and the RHS
- Kieran asked – How was it appearing on The One Show? A. It was really busy, with people running about all the time and the studio was really small. I went in the Green Room and it literally is a Green Room!
- Keegan asked – Who is the nicest celebrity you have met? A.The 3 Blue Peter presenters – Lindsey, Barney and Radzi defo. I’ve also met Mary Berry, which made my Mum speechless!
- Alivia asked – How does our school garden compare to your school garden? A. Well now I’m at High School, we haven’t got an official school garden as such, so I’d say yours (Chaucer) is the best!
- Holly asked – What is the best thing about being an RHS Young School Gardener of the Year? A. The way people treat me, it’s really nice
- Kieran asked – I’ve bought my Mum some radish and tomato seeds for Mother’s Day, what advice have you got? A. Well I’m not sure about radish, but have a look at the RHS website for advice, as for tomatoes they need to be left in a warm place, ideally a greenhouse with plenty of sun and water. I live in Manchester and have never had much success!
- Miss Oldnall said – So who has a garden or allotment at home and who has been inspired by George today to give gardening a go? A. Thankfully a lot of the kids put their hands up !!!
Then I got a few pictures with the whole class and unfortunately it was time for me to go, but Kieran (bottom left) still stuck beside me and asked if I could stay longer – I wish I could have done, but I had to go over to Trowell Garden Centre (which will be the subject of my next blog).
As I’ve said this was my first ‘official’ school visit as an RHS Ambassador and I’m so glad I chose to go to Chaucer Junior School. All the staff and pupils made me feel so special and welcome. But the biggest thanks needs to go to Kerry and Derek, they are such lovely people and Kerry works so hard alongside the kids to make the garden so impressive