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Newbury in Bloom 2018 School Winners announced

The winners of the schools category are announced!

Newbury In Bloom, Community Spirit, Get outdoors, Inspriation for your Garden

NIB Evening Presentation 2018

Rivar Sand and Gravel once again sponsored the schools category of Newbury In Bloom 2018. With a representative on the NIB working party committee we are heavily involved in the whole event and we are loving it.

The schools category is an area that Rivar are particularly passionate about, getting children out into the great outdoors, to experience the pleasure of growing plants and getting closer to the wildlife that they attract is such a fun thing to do, and an invaluable experience for children. So it was our pleasure to join the judging team and see first-hand what the schools created this year.

We had 4 Schools enter NIB this year, Falkland School, Newbury Hall School, St John the Evangelist and St Josephs.

It was a difficult year to be growing plants with a very cold and snowy start to the year and a very, very hot summer!!

Our first school that we visited was St Josephs – They impressed us with the addition of a large bug hotel, the use of recycled objects especially the cold frame made of plastic bottles. There were information boards dotted around with facts about the flora and fauna in the garden.

As the children showed us around they explained that the members of the gardening club and Eco club were responsible for most of the work undertaken and that parents were called upon for donations of plants, seeds and bottles.

We liked the reflection garden. With seats made from a felled tree, children are free to access this area at any time during breaks and is used for outdoor classes as well as prayers.

St John the Evangelist was our second school – With a theme of the five senses the children explained how they planned the garden, and how every class and parents became involved in the execution of that plan.

Taste – Strawberries and herbs

Sound – Recycled wind chimes

Sight – Bright flowers and recycled art

Touch – soft leaves, rounded pebbles and crunchy pathways

Scent – Planting such as lavender and herbs

The garden was planted as a walk through so we could experience all the five senses and become totally immersed in the experience.

With bug hotels and feeders the local wildlife was enjoying the experience too!

Our next entrant was Newbury Hall School – This was the first year that the school has entered. With students bordering at the school anything from 1 week to 6 months some would not get to see the final results but it didn’t stop them getting involved.

A new vegetable garden was planted and in full swing when we visited, it was explained to us that students who had never so much as picked up a trowel before became fully immersed in the garden. With volunteers watering at weekends lots of people benefitted from the gardening experience.

The flower borders gave lots of colour to the main garden with one parent calling it a “haven”, this created a lovely space for everyone to enjoy in their free time as well as having outdoor lessons there and a perfect location for the yoga classes!

Our final school to visit was Falkland School – The children have created a very productive and tranquil garden, growing many plants from cultivated seeds and using donated items to make planters, bug feeders and a bottle greenhouse.

The garden was being used for reward time and focus time as well as a place to eat lunch. We actually interrupted two teachers having their lunch there when we went to judge!

The teacher spearheading the garden campaign visited a gardening show where she picked up a “Falkland Fuscia”, this was planted by the entrance to the school giving a bright welcome and peaking the interest of what was to come.

In General across all of the schools we absolutely loved the common theme of encouraging wildlife into the gardens, using recycled materials to create planters, works of art and even greenhouses!

Plants seeds and equipment and time were donated by staff, parents and neighbours showing that gardening doesn’t always have to be costly and encouraging that community spirit.

All the gardens had a mixture of vegetables and flowers, and called upon willing volunteers to get their hands dirty.

We especially liked the fact that these beautiful spaces were being “used”, not just for gardening clubs but for outdoor classes, at lunchtimes and reward time, integrating these beautiful gardens into everyday school life.

Congratulations go to all the entrants but as this is a competition we had to choose a winner, Runners up were St Josephs School whose environmental responsibility and information boards scored them highly.

The winning school was St John the Evangelist whose planning and theme along with environmental responsibility and tidiness pushed them into the lead.

Locations we cover:

(From our Hare Hatch Depot:) Reading, Twyford, Henley, Peppard, Kidmore End, Sonning Common, Shiplake, Wargrave, Sonning, Maidenhead, Marlow, Holyport, Windsor, Bray, Binfield

(From our Thatcham Depot:) Pangbourne, Theale, Bradfield, Padworth, Beenham, Aldermaston, Woolhampton, Bucklebury, Newbury, Thatcham, Hungerford, Kintbury

(From our Tadley Depot:) Basingstoke, Tadley, Oakley, Baughurst, Chineham, Hook, Kingsclere, Headley, Yateley, Hartley Wintney, Heckfield, Basing, Wasing, Whitchurch, Overton, Litchfield

(From our Windlesham Depot:) Ascot, Binfield, Bracknell, Wokingham, Sunninghill, Sunningdale, Virginia Water, Egham, Staines, Windlesham, Bagshot, Camberley

and everywhere in between...