Young Gardener Awards
We are rather taken with the winners of inaugural Young Gardener Awards that saw primary schools and children from all over New Zealand involved with the Garden to Table programme entering the Young Gardener Awards for a chance to win a range of prizes and gardening goodies.
The awards were judged by gardening journalist and broadcaster Lynda Hallinan, chef and restaurateur Al Brown, executive officer at Garden to Table Linda Taylor and executive general manager of New Zealand produce at T&G Global Andrew Keaney.
Haumoana School, Hastings, Hawke’s Bay took out the T&G Garden to Table School of the Year Award. Teacher Jon Lovell says: “The children absolutely thrive on the opportunities provided by the Garden to Table programme. Be it in the kitchen or garden, they are totally engaged and thoroughly enjoy the opportunity for ‘hands-on’ real life learning.”
Meet the five individual award winners:
EMMA WALSH, 7, FROM NORTH LOBURN SCHOOL, NORTH CANTERBURY is a special needs student who has 4p Syndrome and very limited speech. “Gardening, for Emma, is a source of wonder, connection with others, peace, calm and pride,” says Emma’s mum.
“It allows her to find success without the challenges of speech, written language and mathematics found in the classroom. She takes pleasure and pride in all aspects — from the yucky, mucky and gunky experiences to the miraculous, colourful and tasty delights of gardening. Her love for planting and harvesting doesn’t outweigh her love to nurture and care for the garden. She delights in seeing plants grow. It amazes her how they have a life that evolves and can reproduce itself.”
FREDDIE MEERE, 10, FROM TE HURUHI SCHOOL, WAIHEKE, AUCKLAND SAYS “I’ve learnt a lot about gardening and am intrigued by how fun it is. But my favourite part is eating! In the garden, it’s a nice peaceful space and I like looking at the plants and smelling the lavender.
My proudest gardening moment is when I pulled out a big big root with a fork. It took three people to carry it to the compost pile. All the roots and other weeds we pulled out have turned into really, really, nice compost. Our teacher says it was the best compost he’s ever seen and it has taken him six years to create his compost pile, including our roots and other weeds.”
QWINCEY MENNELL, 10, FROM DOMINION ROAD SCHOOL, WEST AUCKLAND, SAYS “My favourite thing about gardening is learning to grow fruits, vegetables and trees. Without these we wouldn’t be able to live! I am proud of growing two apple trees from an apple core. I ate an apple then I got a cup and some damp tissue. I put the seeds from the core on to this then covered the cup with Glad wrap. I put the cup in the hot water cupboard to stay warm. Every two days I checked on my seeds and watered the tissue if it was drying out.
After two weeks my mum checked and told me my seed was growing! I potted the seedlings in some soil and looked after them, checking morning and night to see if they needed water. Soon they had grown from seedlings into saplings.
JOHN LUNDY, 7, FROM NORTH LOWBURN SCHOOL, NORTH CANTERBURY, SAYS “I get to garden at school and at home. I take pride in our school gardens and use what we grow to cook with in our Garden to Table cooking classes.
I gained a knife licence at school to chop up the vegetables that we grow. My proudest moment is when my dad used the farm drill and planted two big rows of peas for me in a paddock — 50kg of peas for fun and yummy yummy yummy! He did it for me and his dad used to do it for him.”
MAIMA IERU, 10, FROM CANNONS CREEK PRIMARY, LOWER HUTT, WELLINGTON, SAYS “I love everything about gardening. I love propagating. Last year, we took cuttings with our garden teacher and grew Chinese lantern plants. I love planting things too. This year I helped plant an apricot tree. I have never eaten an apricot from a tree so I am excited to one day eat one.
This year I asked my teacher if I could have my own garden and she said yes! I had to weed it first because there were lots of weeds like montbretia and wild pea. There were grass grubs there too and white cabbage butterfly. I planted osteospermum and fuzzy wuzzies. Also daffodil bulbs, violas and wallflowers.”