VIDEO: Young School Gardener of the Year finalist
Work with the Growler project in Selsey earned a green-fingered student a place in the final of the Royal Horticultural Society's Young School Gardener of the Year competition.
Luke Robertson, 11, is a student at The Academy Selsey and attends the gardening club run by Selsey charity Youth Dream.
The Royal Horticultural Society said Luke did really well to be a finalist, having been chosen from the hundreds of other children and young people who were nominated.
There were three other finalists in the 11 to 14-year-old category and the overall winner, Tallis Inger-Flecker, 14, from Writhlington School, Radstock, was announced at an awards ceremony at RHS Garden Wisley.
Naomi Cooper, Youth Dream’s education keyworker, said: “Luke has impressed us all with his dedication, enthusiasm and hard work, and his gardening knowledge is growing fast.
“He is intensely curious, asking many questions and takes on board a great deal of information at each gardening session. He regularly takes home seeds and tries growing them, so far with mixed results, but his enthusiasm never wanes.
“Luke attends the gardening club every week without fail, regardless of the weather. He also comes for whole days in the school holidays and is willing to help with any activity, no matter how muddy or strenuous.
“Our gardening project has been able to donate fresh produce to the local food bank and to sell at school fayres. Luke’s contribution makes such opportunities possible and raises the profile of gardening and food growing among his peers and the community at large.”
Growler stands for growing, life in the garden and as a person. It teaches life skills such as learning how to grow food and cook it.
Luke said: “Here at Growler, we have an allotment where we grow vegetables and fruit. We are also planting trees and flowers to attract bees to help protect them.
“The project is quite new but we are already able to donate occasionally to the local foodbank and to sell plants we have grown ourselves.”
Luke, who has been given his own corner of the allotment to grow whatever he likes, said he likes everything about gardening.
He explained: “It takes me outside of the house and gives me the chance to see the plants as they grow.
“The different stages are really interesting, from bean or seed to fully-grown plant.”