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School pupils keen to teach others about gardening

21 February 2013

School pupils keen to teach others about gardening

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Fourteen children from the Kapiti Coast are abandoning their classrooms to attend the Ellerslie International Flower Show next month where they hope to teach others about the benefits of gardening.

Aged from six to 11 years old, they are all pupils of Raumati South Primary School, which is going to become the first school to ever stage an exhibition garden at the prestigious Ellerslie show.

The school has entered gardens in the Kapiti Sustainable Home and Garden Shows for the past two years but it now wants to take the messages its pupils have learned about gardening to a wider audience.

“We hope that by recreating some of the projects that our students have undertaken and rebuilding them at Ellerslie our students can talk to some of the expected 60,000 visitors and not only encourage them to grow edible produce at home and provide habitats for wildlife in their own garden, but perhaps go out and support gardens in schools in their own community,” says Diane Turner, a teacher aide at Raumati South Primary School.

The school’s 6m by 6m garden, which they will begin setting up on Sunday 3 March, will contain a fruit bed, an edible flower bed, a pizza oven and herb area, a South African Keyhole garden with its own compost system, a butterfly garden area with a green roof above it, native planting for lizards, a weta bed, and a water irrigation system based around an old dairy pump powered by a bicycle, which the students will ride.

Recycled pallets and old wooden car-part packaging cases will be used to form the garden’s walls and decking.

Once the Ellerslie International Flower Show is over the entire garden will be gifted to Wharenui Primary School in Riccarton, Christchurch. Wharenui Primary is a decile two school and, like Raumati South Primary, an active participant in the New Zealand Enviroschools programme.

“We wanted the chance to help another school in Christchurch have a garden to enjoy,” says Mrs Turner. “We hope that their students will enjoy gardening with their new garden and also enjoy eating the produce, and as a result will want to try and grow more, not only at their own school but at home.’’

Mrs Turner says the school had been fund-raising to raise money for their trip to Ellerslie and has also received a $10,000 grant from the Kapiti Coast District Council.

The 14 pupils chosen to attend Ellerslie will be on hand throughout the show to talk to visitors about their garden and also to pedal the bike used to drive the irrigation system.

The Ellerslie International Flower Show is on in North Hagley Park from March 6 to 10.

• Follow the students’ blog about their gardening experience at
Follow Ellerslie International Flower Show on Facebook
• To book any of the Edible Ellerslie sessions go to
• Tickets for Ellerslie International Flower Show are available from the website, all open Christchurch City Council Service Centres, Mitre 10 Mega Stores in Christchurch, Ashburton and Timaru, Terra Viva, EziBuy Christchurch and Nichols Garden Centres.


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