BUDDING garden designers from Parkside School received praise for their creativity from the UK’s top garden experts.

Students from the Cullingworth school adopted a beach theme for their entry in the Royal Horticultural Society’s Green Plan It Challenge. Although they did not win the national contest with their design for a Parkside school garden, they were shortlisted for the Most Creative Design prize.

A team of Year Eight students spent 10 weeks researching plants, sketching ideas on scale drawings, and building a 3D model of ‘The Parklands’.

The competition was launched at RHS Harlow Carr Gardens last September, when the students were introduced to the challenge and gained inspiration from a tour around the garden.

During sessions in school the team made a mood board of ideas from magazine pictures. They measured the existing school garden and planned their garden on the scale drawing.

Parkside food technician Sarah Osgerby said the initial ideas were narrowed down using responses from an online survey carried out with the whole school.

She said: “The most popular ideas were for a beach themed garden, with plenty of seating, so the space could be used for outdoor learning as well as promoting well-being.

“A detailed report was produced bringing together the research into specific plants and other ideas. Finally the students worked together to create a 3D model.

Sarah said 11 other schools presented their models and displays in Harrogate, providing strong competition for Parkside.

She added: “Parkside students spoke confidently to the RHS assessors about the garden, and the specific role that they had played as individuals within the team.

“They were all absolutely superb, and although we didn’t come away with a trophy, one of the judges came to speak to us afterwards and said she had put us forward as her choice for the Most Creative Design.

“Immediately after the event finished, one of the team said, ‘Can we do this again next year?’”