PUPILS at Rosneath Primary School have been winning plenty of fans with their gardening talents – and now they need your votes in a national competition.

The Rosneath youngsters’ green fingers featured in the Advertiser last year, when Lorna Gillespie’s P1/2 class entered a Gardening Scotland competition to design a pallet and planter.

Their successful entry won a place at the country’s national gardening festival – held online because of the pandemic.

But the Rosneath creation didn’t end on the drawing board.

Keep Scotland Beautiful (KSB), the charity which organised the competition, announced that all the schools that took part in the 2020 competition would have the opportunity to be part of a Pocket Garden Online Showcase – giving members of the public across the country a chance to see all the creations, vote for their favourite, and perhaps even be inspired to create their own.

A ‘pocket garden’, just in case you haven’t heard the term before, is described by KSB as “a miniature garden that uses edible plants, plants that attract wildlife, and that reuses something which would otherwise have been thrown away”.

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Voting opened at KSB’s website – keepscotlandbeautiful.org/pocket-garden/ – on Saturday, but you only have until midnight this Sunday, June 13, to get your vote in for the Rosneath youngsters’ creation, so don’t hang about.

However, the P1/2 creation is far from the end of Rosneath’s gardening story. When pupils returned to school in August last year after the first Covid lockdown, Mrs Gillespie’s class was so eager to continue working on their garden that head teacher Emma McDermid gave the class more space to develop it further.

And as it turned out, the young gardeners didn’t have to look very far to find others inspired by their efforts.

In fact, just down the corridor, more of Rosneath’s pupils decided they wanted to get in on the act, too.

The school’s Primary 3/4 class developed a sensory garden which would also attract butterflies and bees. Plants include lavender, rosemary and mint for herbs and butterfly bushes, goldenrod, hollyhocks and daffodils to attract the bees and butterflies.

There are benches, too, where pupils can sit and watch the wildlife that visits the garden.

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And Primary 5/6 pupils got in on the act, too, finishing off the construction of a “mud kitchen” which all ages and stages at the school thoroughly enjoy playing in.

The school has also completed the planting of trees obtained through the Woodland Trust before the Covid lockdown, and has applied for more through the Tree Council’s Orchards for Schools scheme, with hope of planting varieties of pear, apple and plum trees.

In addition, Rosneath has successfully applied to be a Force for Nature school – another Tree Council initiative encouraging pupils to be ‘young tree champions’.

Rosneath, which now has more than 100 trees planted throughout the school’s grounds, is one of only a few schools to be awarded the Force for Nature package, which included beautiful trees, a technology package including a virtual reality set and digital microscope, and a day of training from the Speakers Trust, where pupils learned top tips on speech writing and public speaking with the aim of giving them a voice to speak and write about the importance of trees in tackling climate change.

The school’s fledgling orchard project has also inspired Rosneath’s youngsters to try and grow more fruit and veg, and so – partly because of the threat posed by rabbits and deer eating things – they’ve also invested in a polytunnel, currently home to a few experimental and slightly more exotic plants, with plans for the school’s janitor to build a ‘raised bed’ for each class inside the tunnel structure for next term.

And on top of all that, a ‘sound garden’ in the school grounds is nearing completion too, with a host of ‘percussion’ items kindly donated by the local community – wind chimes, pots and pans, pipes, bicycle wheels and parts and more – ready to be attached to structures within the garden.

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Mrs McDermid said: “This session each class has taken an area of our school's grounds to develop and in the case of Primary 2/1, continue their hard work on their pocket garden.

“We are so very lucky at Rosneath Primary to have great outdoor access and our children and staff have been working so hard to creatively design their own unique parts of the gardens.

“All of our pupils are able to access all areas and it has been a great way to encourage their physical and fine motor skills.

“It has also encouraged our children to be healthier, by planting and growing their own healthy snacks and foods. The children feel they’ve achieved something, and they want to celebrate that fact.

“Our children are naturally reaping the benefits of more outdoor physical activity, whilst being actively engaged and enjoying the benefits of sensory play.”