Pupils grow with garden success

NURTURED LEARNING: Raumati South Primary School pupils with their silver award-winning sustainable show garden at the Ellerslie International Flower Show in  Christchurch.
NURTURED LEARNING: Raumati South Primary School pupils with their silver award-winning sustainable show garden at the Ellerslie International Flower Show in Christchurch.

A group of Raumati South Primary School pupils has won a silver award at the Ellerslie International Flower Show, proving learning can blossom outside the classroom.

Raumati South - the first primary school to exhibit at the prestigious event - rose to the occasion with its sustainable show garden, which judges yesterday awarded a silver medal.

The 14 children, aged 6 to 11, with parents, teachers, supporters, and backing from the Kapiti Coast District Council, travelled to Christchurch last week.

Teacher Michael Stewart says the garden looked fantastic set up in North Hagley Park, even alongside the work of world-standard landscapers.

"It looked just beautiful. We couldn't have done a better job."

Among the features of the 6x6-metre garden were an edible flower bed, stone pizza oven, African keyhole garden and bicycle-powered irrigation system.

Children were not permitted on site while construction of the gardens was under way because of health and safety regulations, but otherwise, the pupils did most of the work themselves.

Mr Stewart says the team is thrilled with the silver award and hopeful about its chances in the People's Choice text award, to be announced on Sunday.

The pupils have been working on the garden on school grounds for the past five years, and entered gardens in the last two Kapiti Sustainable Home and Garden Shows.

Mr Stewart says the children have learned a huge amount from the experience.

"They learn without realising they're learning: they're not in a classroom, they're out doing things.

"They know the importance of water conservation, plant nutrition, composting, native trees, conservation. They have arguments with their parents about which plants they should be planting; they know why we shouldn't be polluting rivers and streams.

"It's a holistic way of learning."

After the flower show ends on Sunday, the entire garden will be donated to decile 2 Wharenui Primary School in Riccarton, Christchurch, so its students can learn about the benefits of gardening, too.

"People in Christchurch are just amazed by the kids' generosity and that we've managed to pull this thing off."

The Dominion Post