Young gardeners’ blooming good prize

Green-fingered gardeners from a Swansea primary school have struck Olympic gold at the annual Swansea in Bloom awards.

The youngsters from Cila Primary School, in Killay, came out on top in the Premier League of the schools competition, sponsored by the Quadrant Shopping Centre, which this year had an Olympics theme.

It was an impressive performance, according to Swansea in Bloom Chairman Leighton Evans, an award-winning dahlia grower himself and a man who knows his way around a flower bed.

He said: “We have been delighted again with the standard and with the number of schools taking part – this year the entries were up from 24 to 32 schools and we’re expecting even more next year.

“We had decided to put Cila into a Premier League of the three best schools from last year and they came out on top but it was very close between them, St Illtyd’s and Penllergaer Schools.”

As well as the Olympic theme, the competition asked for a planted-up wheelbarrow and butterfly-friendly planting and the pupils of Cila School once again fulfilled all the elements, according to Leighton.

Deputy Head Teacher Vanessa Taylor said: “We were very excited to have won again. We have been successful in the competition for the past nine years.

“It’s something we are very keen to promote and we involve every pupil of the school, from nursery to Year Six, right from the start with planning and designing to planting and growing and we even run a little business at the end selling produce such as fruit, vegetables and herbs to the parents.

“It’s something we would do anyway but the Swansea in Bloom competition is a very worthy event and it gives us a real focus for the school garden.

“There was an Olympic theme so the children made a London Eye and Big Ben and Olympic Rings out of recycled materials like old bike wheels and we’ve grown the peas up them.

“The children enjoy competing and winning and they also enjoy tasting the things they have grown.

“Our caretaker, Julian Nash, who is also our eco-governor, is heavily involved but everyone plays a part.”

Ian Murray, the Manager of the Quadrant Centre, said: “We have been delighted to back this competition because Swansea really is a very floral city and these youngsters are the next generation of gardeners.

“Swansea in Bloom and the City Council do a wonderful job of filling the city with colourful blooms every year, especially at the Quadrant where there is always a spectacular display of hanging baskets.”

Among the winners were Christchurch Primary School who topped the West division in their first attempt at the competition and Leighton added: “We asked for three themes, the Olympics, planted-up wheelbarrows and butterfly gardens and the response was wonderful.

“There were some really good entries and Christchurch School were first-time winners and the judge described their garden as outstanding and overall the standard was excellent.”

As well as the Premier League, there were three other sections for local primary schools with certificates for each as well as prizes of £75, £50 and £25 for the top three to be spent on gardening supplies for the school.

The results were: East: 1 Pentre Graig; 2 Ynys Towy; 3 Gellionnen.

Central: 1 Blaenymaes; 2 Llangyfelach and Waun Wen; 3 Townhill.

West: 1 Christchurch; 2 Crwys and Gowerton; 3 Pontarddulais.

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