Schools are not quite out but there was definitely a buzz at the Guildford in Bloom Schools Gardening Competition awards at Clandon Park Garden Centre this week. Mayor of Guildford, Cllr Richard Billington presented the children with their certificates and winners were treated to a talk from a bee keeper and a potting workshop.

More schools than ever took part in this year’s competition themed ‘The Colours of Summer’. Children cultivated an array of enchanting gardens with a subtle mix of interpretation on the theme, including ‘summer’ spelled out in plants and a bee-friendly patch. There was even a break from the norm with a summer beach garden by Kings College.

The Schools Gardening Competition serves as a forerunner to the borough’s hugely popular horticultural celebration, Guildford in Bloom, now in its 38th year. Both annual competitions are free to enter and champion gardening, the environment, health, well-being and a sense of community. A new addition to the programme this year saw the Guildford in Bloom team collaborating with students from the Halow Project with ‘An Act of Blooming Kindness’ where over 150 geraniums were potted and give away to local residents.

Cllr Paul Spooner, Chairman of Guildford in Bloom says: ‘It was a pleasure to see such wonderful gardens designed by the children under the theme of ‘Colours of Summer’. Yet again I’ve been impressed with their enthusiasm, creativity and resourcefulness. We had such a diverse range of mini gardens from bee-friendly to beaches to LGBT. They have all worked so hard together to create their plots using a mix of seeds, plants, vegetables and recycling containers that attract wildlife. A big thank you to their teachers and parents too along with our Sponsors, as without them the competition wouldn’t be possible.’

He explains: ‘The Schools Competition grew from the established highly successful Guildford in Bloom where we have some existing categories dedicated to schools and young people. It is brilliant as it captures the main purposes of Guildford in Bloom bringing them directly to our younger communities. The next generation are very environmentally aware and keen to support and nurture wildlife and they understand working together is the best way to achieve this.’

The overall winner was Wonersh and Shamley Green Primary School who won the Best in Competition award for a second year running. Tess Trewinnard, Head Teacher at the school said: ‘We’re delighted to have won the Guildford in Bloom Schools Competition for the second year running. Given the challenging weather conditions we were surprised to have won. I just love the way it has excited all the children about gardening.’

She continued: ‘This competition has really caught the children’s attention and for many inspired a totally new interest in gardening. The children took the competition theme ‘Colours of Summer’ and related it to their classroom learning. All the plots were different, but all have helped to make our school environment more attractive and environmentally friendly. Some children now spend their lunchtimes weeding and watering plants.’

Lead Councillor for Arts, Parks and Countryside, Cllr Pauline Searle explains: ‘Guildford in Bloom is our much-loved annual initiative bringing together community groups, businesses, schools and residents to promote gardening and nature conservation, which helps us enhance our beautiful borough while encouraging everyone to get outside in the fresh air and enjoy time with friends and families. This year we showcase a lunar theme in the main competition to mark the 50th Anniversary of the first Moon landing and we’ve launched a new category: ‘Best Site for Nature Conservation’. Judging takes place 1-19 July with the Award Ceremony on 17 September.’

Guildford in Bloom judges visited the schools to awarded entries with Bronze, Silver, Silver Gilt or Gold replicating the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show.

This year’s winners are:

Ash Grange Primary School – Gold
Burpham Primary School – Gold
Glenesk School – Gold
Gosden House School – Gold
Guildford Nursery School and Children’s Centre – Silver Gilt
Jigsaw School (Cranleigh) – Gold
Kings College for the Arts and Technology – Gold
Lanesborough Pre-Prep – Gold
Pirbright Village Primary School – Gold
Pond Meadow School – Silver Gilt
St Nicolas C of E Infant School – Silver Gilt
Stoughton Infant School – Silver Gilt
Wonersh and Shamley Green Primary School – Gold (Best in Competition)
Wood Street Infant School – Silver Gilt
Worplesdon Primary School – Gold

Entries have now closed for the main awards and judging will take place over the summer with the main awards held in September at the Yvonne Arnuad Theatre.