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Highland youngsters cultivate green-fingered success in garden design competition – Ullapool and Applecross make their mark


By Alasdair Fraser

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Ullapool Primary's winning entry.
Ullapool Primary's winning entry.

Budding garden designers at a nursery and a primary school have enjoyed blooming brilliant success in a national competition.

Among the winners in the green-fingered themed contest were youngsters from Cradlehall Primary in Inverness and Nairn’s Junior World pre-school childcare group.

The environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful challenged kids to design their own pocket gardens, with 230 entries received from 22 of Scotland’s 32 local authority areas in 2020 and 2021.

Cradlehall Primary pupils caught the judges’ eye with this entry.
Cradlehall Primary pupils caught the judges’ eye with this entry.

The winning schools, including fellow Highland primaries at Applecross and Ullapool, were to showcase the fruits of their labours at the Scottish Gardens Show at Scone Palace in late May.

Children as young as three at Junior World Nairn helped create this entry.
Children as young as three at Junior World Nairn helped create this entry.

With the show cancelled because of Covid-19 restrictions, the winners will instead build and grow their designs to feature in a future digital showcase. The nation will then vote for their favourite pocket garden.

Eve Keepax, the education and learning officer at Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “Many people rediscovered a connection to nature during lockdown, and the competition has encouraged young people to celebrate that through their designs.

“We are delighted that schools and young people are finding the benefits of this competition in learning and teaching. The pocket garden designs were practical, creative, challenging, sustainable and full of fun.”

Anthony McCluskey, chairman of the Garden for Life Forum, added: “Nature is in crisis, but we can all do our bit. Even small growing spaces can make a great contribution to supporting populations of insects like bees and butterflies, and provide homes and food for birds, hedgehogs, and amphibians. Getting close to nature is great for our mental wellbeing too.”

Winning pocket gardens will be posted at www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/pocketgarden from Saturday, June 5. Voting for the favourite will take place from June 5-13.


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