February 8, 2023

Nominations open in the search for 2023’s RHS School Gardeners of the Year

Nominations open in the search for 2023’s RHS School Gardeners of the Year

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has begun the search for stand-out school gardeners, with nominations for the 2023 competition now open.

The competition returns after a three-year hiatus, with the charity hoping to uncover the inspiring and innovative ways that schools have been growing before, during and since the pandemic.

Schools across the UK can now nominate their star gardeners in two categories:

  • RHS School Gardening Team of the Year: Celebrates an exceptional team of school gardeners who have made a difference to their school environment or local community.
  • RHS School Gardening Champion of the Year: Nominations open for a passionate, green-fingered adult who has championed gardening and growing in a school, demonstrating valuable gardening skills and inspiring pupils.

School Gardeners of the Year celebrates the many benefits of school gardening and outdoor learning, recognising the young people and adults who are championing gardening and are passionate about growing in their schools.

This year’s judging panel includes Frances Tophill, gardening presenter and author, Matt Willer, School Gardening Champion of the Year 2018 and George Hassall, RHS Young Ambassador and Young School Gardener of the Year 2014, as well as members of the RHS team.

The competition is open to any school registered to the RHS Campaign for School Gardening, which currently supports over 13,000 schools across the UK. The Campaign calls on every child to be given the chance to garden, to boost learning, hone practical skills and grow an understanding and appreciation for nature and green spaces.

Frances Tophill, gardening presenter and author, and one of the judging panel, said: “We’re not looking for perfect gardens, we’re looking for enthusiasm, creativity and a passion for growing things. Showcasing all of the hard work happening within schools year-round can act as a catalyst for others to create green spaces that not only benefit pupils, but wildlife and the local community too. I cannot wait to read all of this year’s entries.”

Alana Cama, RHS Schools and Groups Programme Manager, added:
 “We know that school gardeners are harnessing the power of their plants in many ways, from providing habitats and food for wildlife to harvesting fruit and vegetables for their local community. There is huge potential for schools to use their growing spaces to tackle some of the biggest challenges we face. School Gardeners of the Year is an excellent opportunity for us to celebrate the hard work and dedication of all those passionate gardeners.”

Top prizes for this year’s winners include National Garden gift vouchers and patio glasshouses. Celebrations will be held at each of the winning schools to present the prizes and recognise their achievements.

Nominations can be made at and the deadline for applications is 5pm on Monday 27th March. The winners will be announced in June.

For more information on the competition and advice about school gardening visit the RHS Campaign for School Gardening website:

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by The Country Smallholder

The Country Smallholder is aimed at the ever-increasing UK audience interested in living a cleaner, greener, and more sustainable way of life. From people already living on a smallholding, to allotment owners; from those with a couple of acres of land, to those aspiring to get more out of their garden or even window box. With 73% of UK residents claiming to want to live more sustainably post Covid, The Country Smallholder has something for everyone.

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