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Ellon Academy gardeners make Pocket Garden Design finals

By Kirsty Brown

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Ellon Academy's gardening group were one of just 45 schools to have the opportunity to make their ideas a reality in Keep Scotland Beautiful's 2022 Pocket Garden Design Competition.

One of 340 entries from across Scotland, in March the group learned that they had been selected to go through to the final stage of the competition - the digital showcase.

Since then, the pupils have been busy bringing their design to life and now their fate is in the hands of the public vote, which closes on Monday (June 20).

Schools developed environmentally friendly designs for a tiny garden telling a story, reflecting the themes of the 2022 Year of Stories, One Planet Picnic and Wildlife Gardening.

Stories are a vital part of culture and community, from well-loved tales of family and friends to famous fictional characters: they all give a sense of place, history and belonging.

There are fables, legends, folklore, news stories, novels, fairy stories, investigative journalism, and myths to draw inspiration from and the young people celebrated that through their imaginative competition entries.

Children, from as young as three, were challenged to design a colourful and sustainable garden.

Finished gardens will be available to view in an online showcase, where the nation will also be able to vote for their favourite Pocket Garden.

Ellon Academy's EAGER Bunch were selected as one of only 45 entrants to have the chance to build their pocket garden.
Ellon Academy's EAGER Bunch were selected as one of only 45 entrants to have the chance to build their pocket garden.

Education and learning officer for Keep Scotland Beautiful Nicola Davidson said: “This year’s competition has encouraged children to tell their own stories, a wonderful part of our culture, through their garden designs.

"We are delighted that schools and young people in Aberdeenshire are finding the benefits of this competition in learning, teaching and celebrating things that are important to them and their environment.

"The Pocket Garden designs we received were practical, creative, challenging, sustainable and full of fun!

"We can’t wait to share this year’s stories in the digital showcase.

"Make sure to vote for your favourite!”

Outreach Coordinator for Scottish Book Trust Ella McClellan, who was involved in the judging, said: “I was delighted when I was asked if I would help to judge this year’s Pocket Garden design competition, because it combines two things I feel really passionate about, reading and nature.

"Both share really positive commonalities.

"Reading books that you love and spending time in nature are both proven ways of reducing stress and anxiety.

"Delving into new worlds through books, or discovering the vibrant wildlife around you, can also help you to feel less isolated and lonely.

"This lovely project brings both together, in a powerfully beneficial combination and I have really enjoyed ‘reading’ these garden narratives.

"It has been exciting to see the creative experimental gardens in this competition, ones that are unique to the young people who have designed them.”

Elsewhere in Aberdeenshire, Insch Primary School, Fordyce Primary School, Macduff Primary School, Anna Ritchie School and Banchory Academy have also been announced as finalists.

You can vote for your favourite gardens here: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/6HM2PGM and view all of the gardens online at: www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/pocketgarden

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