Launch of the RHS Garden Design Challenge for Secondary Schools hosted by Capel Manor College

London’s leading land-based College hosted the launch of Green Plan It, a student-led competition by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) that encourages Year 8 and 9 students to discover the wonderful world of plants, discover how plants affect people and the planet, and rethink the role of green spaces.

The 10-week project got off to a fantastic start on Tuesday 24 September at Capel Manor College’s Enfield Campus as students from local schools in and around London met their volunteer horticultural mentor. Ranging from award-winning garden designers to landscape architects and horticultural educators, the mentors were able to share their knowledge and experience.

The competition requires students to work together to research, plan and build a model of a garden they would like to see in their school or community. To kick-start the project, students were divided into teams and spent time with their industry mentor. Their skilled mentor offered guidance on designing a garden from scratch, shared practical plant knowledge and encouraged their teams to discuss green spaces. The students were then taken on a tour of the College’s Gardens – that span over 30 acres – to show them the many possibilities within garden design and to help inspire them in the creation of their competition entries.

Green Plan It is a highly beneficial project that helps participating students around the UK to develop their confidence, creativity and teamwork, as well as gaining an insight into the diversity of job roles within the horticulture industry. The winning team will receive a trophy and the opportunity to apply for funding to turn their model garden into a real one!

Capel Manor College has been a centre for horticultural studies since 1968 and has developed an unrivalled reputation for excellence and strong links within the horticultural industry. The College offers a variety of horticulture and garden design courses including Diplomas awarded by the RHS that are widely recognised and respected across the industry.

Angela White, Head of Marketing and Communications at Capel Manor College says,

‘The College is proud to support the RHS once again with this fantastic initiative. It is always encouraging to see young people inspired about horticulture and the natural world around them. The day was a great success and an exciting way to introduce students to the many career possibilities within the industry.’

Chris Young, RHS Community Outreach Advisor added, ‘Through this project we aim to give students an opportunity to learn more about plants and the many ways they can benefit us, from improving mental health and reducing pollution to encouraging wildlife and providing healthy produce. We also want to make schools and students more aware of the many varied career possibilities in the horticultural sector. One of the most popular parts of the day was a tour around the beautiful Capel Manor Gardens. Many students do not have much experience of gardens or gardening so this is a very important source of inspiration for them. The day was a success as students left enthusiastic and keen to get started on their designs!’

Participating schools for the London challenge were: Alperton Community School, The Skinners Kent Academy, Birchwood High School, Greatfields School, Eastbury School, St Albans Girls School, The Compton School and St Augustine’s High School.