Primary pupils dig in for Rotary Gardening Experience

BUDDING young gardeners have been getting green fingers – and prizes – in Oldham Metro Rotary Club’s first Gardening Experience.

Ten primary schools across Saddleworth and Oldham took part in the inaugural event, receiving £75 from Rotary to spend on their projects, which was matched by Booths Garden Centre in Royton.

With the money, they bought planters, bird baths and tables, flowers, bug hotels and hidden artworks to create their dream outside spaces.

Gardening Experience winners Fir Bank Primary School

A number of the projects included sensory gardens and quiet spaces for reflection, helping mental well-being.

A panel of four judges visited every school, and each received a certificate.

Garvin Crabtree, president of Oldham Metro Rotary Club, said: “All the schools put forward excellent projects and explained their journey, most with pictures which formed a book. Trying to pick one that stood out was not easy.

“Teachers and pupils all commented how much they had enjoyed the project and are looking forward to more next year.

“We now have to come up with a new gardening challenge next year to keep pupils interested in gardening and the benefits it provides, not only for our planet but for the well-being of those taking part.”

Fir Bank Primary School in Royton were crowed the winners and received the Stuart Mellor Trophy for Gardening, named in memory of one of the club’s long-serving members who loved gardening.

Headteacher Rachael McLaughlin said the children had fun learning about growing things and seeing the wildlife attracted to the flowers.

With the help of Mr Deville, they restored some old box seats into planters, planted flowers and vegetables along with soft fruits. They also cleared an area and planted saplings, and made a fence from willow trees to offer a quiet space, as well as working on a mud kitchen and Forest School area.

All their work was documented in pictures and words in a book to explain their project.

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