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Young kiwi gardeners in full bloom


10th December 2015

Young kiwi gardeners in full bloom!

Over the past four months, 12,800 budding preschool gardeners from around the country have been learning about gardening by growing their own sunflowers as part of the 2015 Daltons Sunflowers in Kindergartens Project.

In its third year, this popular nationwide gardening initiative provides kindergarten children with the opportunity to develop hands on gardening skills and learn about the lifecycle of plants. This year kindergartens across ten regions took part; Auckland, Nelson Tasman, Marlborough, Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, New Plymouth, Tauranga, Waikato, and newcomer, Central Kindergartens.

Yesterday Daltons announced the regional winners who grew the Tallest Sunflower, and the Sunflower with the widest head. Te Rapa Early Education Centre (part of Waikato Kindergarten Association), grew the tallest sunflower recorded in the three year history of the project! Their sunflower measured in at a staggering 3.12 metres tall! Each kindergarten also named their Daltons Best Little Gardener who received a special certificate and prize.

Participating kindergartens were also eligible to win one of two gardening workshops with TV personality and award winning landscape designer, Xanthe White. The lucky winners were Rawhiti Kindergarten in Matamata and Kidsfirst Kindergarten Sunbeam in St Albans, Christchurch.

Meadowbank Kindergarten in Auckland took out the Overall Best Photo with their picture of Best Little Gardener Lila Stuart (4.5yrs) with Sunflowers. Head Teacher, Sarah Schubert, says; “It was really brilliant! The kids were involved from the get-go; from planting the seeds, to transplanting the seedlings in the gardens and watering and measuring, they did it all! This our first win in the three years of participation so we are thrilled and the kids are delighted”

All regional winners (details below) receive prize packs from Daltons and Warehouse Stationery. Every child will also receive their own certificate as a special keepsake.

Daltons General Manager, Colin Parker, says; “Our Sunflowers in Kindergartens Project is all about inspiring young kiwi gardeners by giving them the opportunity to get their hands dirty and experience how much fun and enjoyment they can have in the garden. Sunflowers grow so fast and are perfect for children as there’s an instant reward to their hard work. Judging by the smiles on some of those little faces we have achieved our goal.”

Feedback from teachers who took part this year included positive comments around how their participation opened up further learning opportunities for the children, such as the importance of plants in our world and discussions around the environment etc.

The official regional winners of the Daltons Sunflowers in Kindy’s project are:

Daltons Tallest Sunflower Plant Winners:

• Auckland Regional Winner: Taupaki Kindergarten, Henderson: 280cm tall (3rd time consecutive winners who and grew their sunflower through the roof again this year!), Auckland Kindergarten Association

• Central Kindergartens Regional Winner: Apanui Kindergarten, Whakatane: 288cm tall (this is the association’s first time in the project)

• Christchurch Regional Winner: Kidsfirst Kindergartens, Edmond Smith Street, Woolston: 170cm tall, Kidsfirst Kindergartens Christchurch

• Dunedin Regional Winner: Helen Deem Kindergarten, St Clair: 134cm, Dunedin Kindergarten Association

• Marlborough Regional winner: Witherlea Kindergarten, Blenheim: 208cm tall, Marlborough Kindergarten Association (2nd time in a row)

• Nelson Tasman Regional winner: Grove Street Kindergarten, Nelson: 271.5cm (3rd year in a row), Nelson Tasman Kindergarten Association

• Taranaki Regional Winner: Devon Kindergarten, Moturoa, New Plymouth: 186cm, Kindergarten Taranaki (Association)

• Tauranga Regional Winner: Te Puke Kindergarten, Te Puke: 240cm tall, Tauranga Region Kindergartens Association

• Waikato Regional Winner: Te Rapa Early Education Centre, Hamilton: 312cm tall (tallest ever grown nationally in the project’s three year history), Waikato Kindergarten Association

• Wellington Regional Winner: Kandallah Kindergarten: 199cm, Wellington Kindergarten Association

Daltons Widest Sunflower Head Winners (measurement is of the face only – not including petals):

• Auckland Regional Winner: KiNZ Mission Heights, Auckland: 23cm wide

• Central Kindergartens Regional Winner: Central Kids Ngatea Kindergarten: 6cm wide

• Tauranga Regional Winner: Te Puke Kindergarten, Kindergartens Tauranga: 11cm wide

• Waikato Regional Winner: Aberdeen Kindergarten, Dinsdale, Hamilton: 12.5 cm wide (2nd time in a row), Waikato Kindergarten Association

Winner of workshops with Xanthe White

• Rawhiti Kindergarten in Matamata (from Central Kindergartens Association)

• Kidsfirst Kindergarten Sunbeam in St Albans (KidsFirst Kindergartens Christchurch)

Overall best photo

• Meadowbank Kindergarten with a photo of Daltons Best Little Gardener Lila Stuart with Sunflowers

This year Daltons have added a ‘Late Bloomers Awards’ to acknowledge the geographic disparity between the regions throughout New Zealand and those areas that have been impacted by the weather. The winners will be awarded in early February once all sunflowers have bloomed.


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