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Edible Classrooms

Posted by Jean Vernon on 06 Jul 2008 at 03:07 PM

Edible Classrooms
It must be great for green-fingered kids growing up in today's world. When I was small (not that long ago really) you were lucky to grow a sunflower in a pot for gardening at school, or a few runner beans wrapped in kitchen roll and stuffed in a jam jar. It can't have been that uninspiring or maybe I was just hooked on plants already, but what I'd have given to have been able to grow and rummage in the raised beds at the Edible Playground at this year's Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.
Even the fence made of giant pencils is a covetable feature for youngsters. For me the raised beds of vegetables, the outdoor classroom and the fabulous workshop with a living roof are simply ‘drop dead gorgeous'.


Garden designer Nick Williams-Ellis was in his element this morning at the garden sponsored by Dorset Cereals. "The idea was to be as practical as possible. I wanted to design a garden that was fun to use and practical and could be used in all weathers. There's an outdoor classroom and a veranda to protect the children from too much sun and too much rain. The message is that productive gardening is fun and colourful and really tasty. The sedum roof keeps the school garden club shed really cool."
After a gold medal at Chelsea 2008 and the prestigious ‘Best Courtyard' Nick has plenty to live up to at this year's show. "I'm really grateful for all this space after Chelsea. I'm looking at the park and back to the palace, it's amazing, this place has been gardened for centuries, I've really enjoyed being here. I'm not expecting a gold medal, I'm just really relieved to have got a garden together."
Well, if this was my school garden (and I was seven again) I'd award this man a giant golden sunflower with a gold plated stem. If it encourages just one more child into the delights of gardening as a career or even just a hobby then it's done it's job ten times over, and chances are with all this inspiration and some sensible adult guidance it will create a whole generation of little green fingers that will pass the knowledge on to tomorrow's gardeners too. Let's hope that they can still garden for pleasure then and don't need the skills for survival.



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