October 5, 2022

PUPILS in West Dunbartonshire are hanging up their gardening gloves as voting for the seventh annual Pocket Garden Design Competition is set to get underway.

Voting for the competition, run by environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful, opens on Wednesday, June 8 when all the winning designs will be available to view in a digital showcase.

In March, Knoxland Primary in Dumbarton and Linnvale Primary in Clydebank won through to the final stage of the competition.

Knoxland Primary School pupils’ garden tells the story of the maritime history of Dumbarton through a boat-shaped garden design featuring reclaimed wood forming a perimeter around the boat.

Linnvale Primary School’s winning design retells the myth of the sirens from ‘The Odyssey’ with a carpet of blue flowers forming a backdrop to the siren’s cave.

Since then the budding designers have been working hard building and growing their gardens.

At the online showcase in 2021, 38 design winners were displayed to allow a public vote.

This year, 340 entries were received from across the country and of these 45 have won a place in the digital showcase.

Nicola Davidson, Education and Learning Officer for Keep Scotland Beautiful 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 West Dunbartonshire 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!”

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

Keep Scotland Beautiful believes stories are a vital part of culture and community and give a sense of place, history, and belonging.

Schoolchildren taking part in the competition drew inspiration from fables, folklore, news stories, novels, fairy stories, investigative journalism, and myths celebrating these in their imaginative competition entries.

Little ones as young as the age of three were challenged to design a colourful and sustainable garden.

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

Ella McClellan, Outreach Coordinator for Scottish Book Trust, 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.”

The winning Pocket Garden designs will be available to view in the digital showcase from June 8 to June 20 on Keep Scotland Beautiful’s website HERE.