RHS Young School Gardener of the Year 2015
13 years old from Hillside School in Aberdour, Fife
Hillside School is a small, residential school for boys with behavioural, socio and emotional needs. Gardening was a recent additional to the curriculum and the commitment and resilience of the boys at the school has impressed staff, in particular the hard work of Jay. A recent project to create a labyrinth in partnership with The Sustainable Communities Initiative showed Jay become a leading light, coming up with inspirational ideas and spending hours poring over gardening magazine, quite a feat for a pupil who is a reluctant reader. Prior to the project, Jay had no gardening experience and can now confidently plant seeds, take cuttings, divide plants and nurture them with care.
Jay works tirelessly in the garden and volunteers his Friday afternoons to help the local Britain in Bloom group fill containers to be displayed in the village. He is an inspiration to his peers and his energy is boundless. His immense willingness to learn has enabled him to learn a huge number of skills in just one year. He is a committed pupil often passing up opportunities to go to the cinema or bowling, instead volunteering to continue working in the garden, no matter what the weather is like.
“The garden that Jay has created, although in its early stages, shows a great potential and it was humbling to see how this young man had run so very far and so very quickly with his love of growing. He is a young man who could achieve great things and he has proved that in all the tireless hard work and time he has put into his school garden.”
“We believe that Jay is a credit to himself, his school and his community. He has shown real determination to succeed, and we would like Jay to stay in touch with the team at the Campaign for School Gardening and tell us how he is doing in the future.”
“Jay’s can-do attitude to getting stuck in is really inspiring to see, and I’ve no doubt that his help and support makes a real impact on all those he helps, from his school’s gardening club to the local Britain in Bloom group. I hope that over the coming year Jay will have a chance to further develop his natural talent for gardening, and I’d love to see him apply again to be Young School Gardener of the Year in the future.”
“Jay, you have obviously come so far very quickly and horticulture is just that wonderful subject where you can immerse yourself and find true pleasure. Well, well done.”
“Jay shows great enthusiasm and has learnt many new skills of which he should be very proud.”
Jay's entry video