Budding Gardeners FAQ for RHS Garden Wisley

Please read all of the information before applying to take part in the competition

Where is RHS Garden Wisley?

RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey, GU23 6QB

What is the competition about?

The Budding Gardeners Competition is an opportunity for school pupils to showcase their love of gardening and imaginative ideas to RHS members and 20,000 visitors to RHS Garden Wisley during the summer half term (Sat 27 May – Sun 04 June).

Who can take part?

Schools signed up to the RHS Campaign for School Gardening are eligible to apply. If you are not registered yet, it’s easy and free. Click here to register.

Each school will need to be able to plant their design on Thursday 25 and/or Friday 26 May 2016 at RHS Garden Wisley. Gardens must be completed by 12pm on Friday 26 May for judging.

Gardens MUST be designed and created by pupils and students, not just adults. If your pupils cannot attend the planting days, you may wish to display photos to show them putting elements together at school.

How do schools enter?

Complete an application form and return it by attaching it to an email and sending it to schoolswisley@rhs.org.uk with ‘Budding Gardeners’ in the subject. Application forms must be received by 5pm on Monday 20 March 2017.

By sending an application form, you will secure your school one raised bed to plant your garden within. Raised beds will be set up at RHS Garden Wisley ready to be planted up by your school on the designated planting days.

Further details on planting days, take down days and additional information will be sent via email during the lead up to the event.

Deadline for all application forms is 5pm on Monday 20 March 2017.

Is there a theme to the competition?

This year’s theme is The Famous Five Go on an Adventure, inspired by the well-loved stories of Enid Blyton. Create a garden that celebrates these exciting stories and their wonderful sense of adventure.

Tips on creating your garden:

  • Consider what your perfect garden would look like. Perhaps pupils could each design their dream plot from which the Head Teacher would then select a winning design.
  • Think about how you can resource your garden for free by asking parents for donations of cuttings or recycled items, or using plants/items from your school garden and grounds.
  • Ensure that you have enough time to grow your plants to be ready for display.

What are the prize categories?

  • Best in Show (one per age category)
  • Gold, Silver & Bronze Awards
  • Green Award (best use of recycling)
  • Most Original Award
  • Curator’s Award
  • Sonsor's Award
  • People’s Choice Award (announced after half term)

What are the benefits of taking part?

Aside from providing a fun activity for pupils and showcasing your school’s green credentials to over 20,000 RHS Garden visitors, benefits include:

  • Free entry to RHS Garden Wisley for all pupils & teachers/staff from participating schools, valid for summer half term 2017. Parents, family members or other adults will be required to pay the normal entry fee.
  • The chance to win some great prizes if your school is given an award by our judges.
  • A certificate and gift for each school that takes part.
  • Opportunities to take part in PR activity with the RHS to promote your school.

What is provided by the RHS?

A bottomless wooden raised bed is provided and will already be in position and pre-filled with compost for your school to plant up your garden on the designated planting days.

Raised beds are approximately 1m x 1m and 20cm deep but please note not all of the raised beds are identical and some measurements do vary so please allow for some leeway.

Extra compost will be available during the planting days.

A label for each garden will be produced with information obtained from your school key contact.

When do we plant our garden?

There will be two planting days at Wisley on Thursday 25 (9am - 4pm) and Friday 26 May 2016 (9am - 12pm) of which you may attend one or both. Judging of the gardens will commence at 12pm on the Friday so gardens will need to be finished by this time.

We understand it can be difficult for pupils and staff to take too much time away from school, however last year a few schools found that they ran out of time to complete their gardens on Friday. If possible, we would recommend that if your garden contains lots of construction, you make use of the planting time on Thursday and return for the prize-giving on Friday.

Prize-giving will begin at 2pm on Friday 26 May and is expected to last no longer than 45 minutes.

How many pupils can we bring?

This is entirely up to you however, due to the high number of schools that take part, we would recommend limiting your groups to no more than 8-10 pupils. You may bring more but please ensure you have enough adults present.

Where do we go on the planting day?

Full details and maps will be sent nearer the date.

How tall can our garden be?

Many schools choose to incorporate high structures in their design. We would recommend keeping height to no more than one metre if possible, although as long as the structure is completely secure, this is flexible. Please bear in mind that your garden will need to stay standing for up to 11 days during which time it will be mostly unattended and the weather could be temperamental.

How wide can our garden spread?

Only items within the raised bed will be judged. Anything outside of the bed will not be counted. Raised beds are also situated fairly close together so bear this in mind when planning your design.

When will the gardens be dismantled?

You will need to collect any plants or other content that you wish to keep from your garden by 2pm on Monday 05 June 2017. Those that are not collected will be dismantled by the RHS and composted / recycled. Unfortunately we cannot allow you to remove your garden on any other date.

Additional rules:

  • Please do not paint the raised bed as they are reused each year. You may stick things to the bed which can be removed later.
  • Please do not include any sharp objects or live animals in your garden. These will be removed before judging. Garden canes must have toppers.
  • Photo permissions will be requested ahead of the event for photos to be used in local press, on the RHS Campaign for School Gardening website and social media. If you do not wish for any pupils to be photographed, please let us know in advance.

Any further questions?

Please email learning@rhs.org.uk and we’ll be happy to help.

Terms and Conditions:

The judges’ decision is final.

We acknowledge that some school half term dates may vary from those of this competition, but the dates listed are final.  

Please note that entries will not be returned to school premises and will need to be collected. If you wish to collect the contents of your entry this can only be done on Monday 05 June 2017 between 9am and 2pm.

Please note that the raised bed remains the property of the RHS.

The winning school will be expected to take part in press activity. Please, therefore, make sure that you have written permission from the parent/guardian for any children directly involved in designing / planting / setting up the garden. We will provide the winning school with model release forms for each pupil to be signed by a parent or guardian and returned to the RHS Campaign for School Gardening.

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