Pupils from Sgoil an Rubha have been awarded best storytelling garden, achieving a Certificate of Recognition in the seventh annual Pocket Garden Design Competition, run by environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful.
Following the huge success of the online showcase in 2021, when 38 design winners were displayed to allow a public vote, this year 340 entries were received from across Scotland. Of these 45 won a place in a digital showcase and only 8 were awarded a Certificate of Recognition. First, second and third places in the public vote were won by Moore House Academy in Bathgate, the Anna Ritchie School of Special Education in Aberdeenshire and Garrowhill Primary School in Glasgow.
Schools developed environmentally friendly designs for a tiny garden telling a story, reflecting the themes of the 2022 Year of Stories, One Planet Picnic and Wildlife Gardening.
Stories are a vital part of culture and community, from well-loved tales of family and friends to famous fictional characters: they all give a sense of place, history and belonging. There are fables, legends, folklore, news stories, novels, fairy stories, investigative journalism, and myths to draw inspiration from and the young people celebrated that through their imaginative competition entries.
Children, from as young as three, were challenged to design a colourful and sustainable garden. Schools developed environmentally friendly designs for a tiny garden telling a story, reflecting the themes of the 2022 Year of Stories, One Planet Picnic and Wildlife Gardening.
Sgoil an Rubha pupils integrated local stories of the Isle of Lewis in their stunning design, which included a blackhouse wildlife home.
Nicola Davidson, Education and Learning Officer for Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “I would like to say a huge congratulations to Sgoil an Rubha for achieving a Certificate of Recognition in this year’s competition. The pupils worked so hard to design and grow a Pocket Garden telling a unique story. This year’s competition encouraged children to tell their own stories, a wonderful part of our culture, through their garden designs. We are delighted that schools and young people throughout Scotland found the benefits of this competition in learning, teaching and celebrating things that are important to them and their environment. The Pocket Garden designs we received were practical, creative, challenging, sustainable and full of fun and meaning.”
Ella McClellan, Outreach Coordinator for Scottish Book Trust, who was involved in the judging, said: “I was delighted when I was asked if I would help to judge this year’s Pocket Garden design competition, because it combines two things I feel really passionate about, reading and nature. Both share really positive commonalities. Reading books that you love and spending time in nature are both proven ways of reducing stress and anxiety. Delving into new worlds through books, or discovering the vibrant wildlife around you, can also help you to feel less isolated and lonely. This lovely project brings both together, in a powerfully beneficial combination and I have really enjoyed ‘reading’ these garden narratives. It has been exciting to see the creative experimental gardens in this competition, ones that are unique to the young people who have designed them.”
The winning Pocket Gardens are still available to view in the digital showcase at www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/pocketgarden.