Winning Schools Announced in Guildford Schools in Bloom

September 11, 2023| News + Events, Past Issues

Guildford in Bloom held its Schools in Bloom Awards at Edwins Garden Centre in Clandon and Freemantles School walked away with an armful of awards, including a Gold Award for their Garden; Best Interpretation of the Theme (For King and Countryside) and Overall Winner of the 2023 Competition.

Freemantles School receives their awards from Masuk Miah, the Mayor of Guildford.

The event included a talk from Guildford Beekeepers Association with lots of props and photos which kept the children (and adults) enthralled. Then they had a chance to get their hands dirty by potting up some plants with Edwins Garden Centre staff which they could take home.

Each school won a book and a certificate with the overall winner getting a £50 voucher to spend on school gardening equipment, a visit to their school by the outreach team at RHS Garden Wisley, and a class visit to Guildford Beekeepers.

Judges Shirley West and Caroline Coleman visited 12 schools in total, ranging from nursery and pre-prep through to junior schools and special schools. The aim of Schools in Bloom is to get young children involved in gardening for both education and wellbeing. The children have grown flowers and food and worked to the theme of ‘For King and Countryside’ – this required them to choose 5 out of a list of 10 things to include in the garden to encourage and protect wildlife – from bug hotels to being part of a hedgehog corridor to growing nectar rich plants, as well as decorating for the Kings coronation.

Judges Shirley West and Caroline Coleman said:

“The schools we have judged have been amazing considering how tough it is for them right now. Our twilight session earlier this year brought schools to the competition who had not entered before.

We chose Freemantles School as the overall winner because they surpassed our expectations in every area we asked for. Care for wildlife was outstanding and the vegetables patches were so well watered and looked after as were the flowers. 

The input from the teachers with the children just shone out with love for their garden and the icing on the cake was their superb interpretation of the theme.”

Carla and Chloe Lead Assistants, at The HEART at Freemantles – the outdoor learning department said: 

“We are thrilled at the news that our school has won Guildford in Bloom. This means so much to our wonderful students. They have worked so hard to create wildlife friendly spaces as well as areas in line with this year’s theme ‘For King and Countryside’. Freemantles is a specialist school for children and young people with Autism. We have 225 students ranging from ages 4-19 who benefit from our outdoor area. Our outdoor space is used in numerous ways from teaching horticulture, growing for our catering sessions and used for wellbeing.”

Paul Spooner, Chairman of Guildford in Bloom said: “The Schools in Bloom awards are a real highlight of our year. Seeing the joy on the children’s faces when they get an award and hearing them talk so enthusiastically about their gardens is heartwarming. 

Our Schools Award event is very special thanks to the Guildford Beekeepers Association who engaged the children with a great talk on bees. Of course it wouldn’t happen without the tremendous support we receive from Lee at Edwins Garden Centre – the children love potting up the plants to take home – a very valuable and generous gesture from Edwins that is very much appreciated.

Our thanks to all schools that have taken part and the judges feedback recognises the enthusiasm and efforts of all involved at every school. I would like to thank all involved with GiB and particularly the judges for visiting each school. GiB would not be as successful as it is without the support of sponsors and we would like to thank Chapters Financial and Unigold 2000 Ltd, our Platinum Sponsors, who along with all of our sponsors ensure we can continue to run the School Competition.”

The Schools in Bloom Award in an integral part of Guildford in Bloom and ensures that the love of gardening and caring for wildlife is firmly planted in the future generation.

The main Guildford in Bloom competition has now closed for entries, and judges are already out and about judging everything from front gardens to nature projects – winners of the main competition will be announced in September.

Further information on Guildford in Bloom can be found at

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