Local primary and secondary schools are being urged to spring into gardening action and take part in Garden Show Ireland’s Schools Challenge.
This year’s show will take place at Antrim Castle Gardens from May 6-8 and as part of the show’s focus on 2016 Year of Food & Drink, schools can get in on the action through a number of competition categories.
Primary schools can create ‘Edible Container Gardens’ while secondary schools are being tasked with designing and building gardens for display themed, ‘Eat Out, Chill Out!’.
Meanwhile primary schools from the Integrated Sector are building scarecrows for Allianz Scarecrow Circle with a special category this year, the ‘Allotment Scarecrow’.
Damien O’Neill, Group Head of Marketing for title sponsor Allianz, said: “Every year we are hugely impressed with the enthusiasm and creativity of the many schools who take part in the various challenges.
“There is increased recognition as to the importance of outdoor learning and these initiatives provide a fun way of teaching children about the world around them whilst also encouraging them to get active in their own school gardens.”
The schools will be rewarded for the efforts with a range of prizes and experiences kindly donated by CAFRE Greenmount Campus, including trees for the overall winners in each of the three categories as well as a morning at CAFRE for all those who enter.
Also partnering up with the Schools Challenges this year is Jilly Dougan, the gardener behind some of the most impressive herb gardens in Northern Ireland, who will be rewarding each participating school with a prize.
The overall winners of each category will receive a one to one session with Jilly and a generous amount of edible plants grown by Jilly.
Claire Faulkner, Director of Allianz Garden Show Ireland believes the Schools activity is a vital part of the Show.
“It brings such a sense of energy to the show to have so many school children involved in the different challenges,” Claire said.
She added: “Our aim is to get young people interested and engaged in gardening and it is always rewarding to see how much they learn.”
Promising a ‘Festival of flowers, food and fun’, the 2016 Allianz Garden Show Ireland programme will focus on bringing the fun of ‘all things garden’ to as many people as possible.
Sitting alongside the traditional array of specialist plants, artisan food stalls, local craft and gardens will be fun filled activities appealing to all age groups - live music, a dedicated kids adventure area, a garden cinema and much more. Plus, the appearance of numerous gardening and food experts, including BBC’s Monty Don.
The 2016 Allianz Garden Show Ireland will run from May 6-8 at Antrim Castle Gardens and is open daily from 10am to 6pm with parking adjacent.
Admission is £10 for adults are £10 (concession £8) and the event is free for children under 16. There is a reduced rate for online booking.
For more information visit www.gardenshowireland.com.