Involving Youngsters With Your Horticultural Society

dbhslogo_4First of all, don’t call them children. Dalgety Bay Horticultural Society (DBHS) has a Young Gardeners Section and a Young Photographers Section in the show schedule. We would expect youngsters up to the age of 16 to enter these sections. Some youngsters do enter in the, what you might consider as “the adult sections”. This is fine. Our rules do not say that they cannot enter. The classes in the two “young sections” are tailored specifically for the youngsters and we have many entries from them. School holidays can sometimes get in the way, especially if the Annual Show is just after the summer holidays. DBHS has a display in the local library advertising the show and we have schedules for the public to pick up as well as copies of all the Industrious Sections, Baking and Sweets; Preserves; Handicrafts (Traditional); Handicrafts (Contemporary); Photography and copies of the Young Gardeners and Young Photographers Sections. We get a number of entries for the show from this display.

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Dalgety Bay has two schools, Dalgety Bay Primary School and Donibristle Primary School. We have a Schools Section in the show schedule, which involves every pupil at each of the schools. Each primary class at each school does something different each year.

We ask the nursery classes, of which there are 4 at each school, to grow tattie barrels. All the nursery classes are provided with 3 seed potatoes and a growbag each. They are given these to plant just before the Easter holidays so that there is time for them to grow and be harvested just before the summer holidays. The barrels for this part of the Schools Section were handed out when we first started the competition many years ago. At harvesting it is great to hear the kids argue that if you planted 3 potatoes then we are going to dig up 3 potatoes. They are amazed when there are up to 50 or 60 potatoes dug up. DBHS takes a photograph of each nursery class with their crop to put on display at the Annual Show along with the biggest potato and all the results of the competition.

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Primaries 1, 3 and 5 are asked to grow the tallest sunflower. All pupils in these primary classes are provided with a paper cup containing 2 sunflower seeds and a sheet of paper with a graph on it for them to complete month by month as the sunflower grows and instructions on how to grow the sunflower. This is provided just after the Easter holidays. Just after the schools resume after the summer holidays a reminder to all sunflower growers is sent out to each grower at each school. The reminder doubles as an entry form for this part of the Schools competition. The entries are collected from the school and each 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in each primary class taking part at each school is visited and a photograph of the sunflower and grower is taken, which is displayed at the show. Also in the competition the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place at each school is judged and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place between the two schools, which gives an overall winner between the two schools. We have two half scale sunflower charts, one for each school, which depict a sunflower and every sunflower grower has a label with their details on it stuck to the relevant chart. It is great on show day to see the child pointing to their height and having a photograph taken. The Young Gardeners Section includes a biggest sunflower head and a smallest sunflower head, which the sunflower exhibitors can enter.

Primaries 2, 4 and 6 at each school are asked to design something as their part of the competition. We have had then design various types of garden, an allotment, a garden for the queen, a seaside garden and so on. One year they designed a flag for Dalgety Bay. We had a lot of interesting entries. Like the sunflowers the entries are collected from the school and judged. There is a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in each primary class taking part at each school. There is also the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place at each school and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place between the two schools, which gives an overall winner between the two schools. All the winner’s entries are laminated and displayed at the show.

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Primary 7 pupils at each school are asked to design the poster for the show. The entries are collected from the school and judged. There is a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in each Primary 7 class from each school. There is also the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, which gives an overall winner between the two schools. The overall winner of the poster part of the competition has their poster printed on high gloss paper and around 80 posters are circulated locally and to all the libraries in Fife to advertise the show. All the winning entries are laminated and displayed at the show.

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All the entries are displayed in the tea room we have separately at the show and of course all the mums and dads and grannies and granddads come along and see the entries. This boosts attendance at the show and also increase the DBHS profile Fife wide.

We have a Local Groups Section in our show schedule. Local Groups like the Rainbows, Brownies, Guides, Beavers, Scouts, Boy’s Brigade, Girl’s Brigade, Out of School Club, and Pre School Nursery Groups are challenged to make something for the show. This year they were challenged to make a Talking Heads family from milk cartons. We got 100 clean empty milk cartons from a local dairy and distributed them
amongst the Local Groups. This is a team challenge for them and the entries are full of imagination. We have had them make scarecrows, under water scenes, mountain scenes and loads more over the years.

DBHS has an ongoing project of planting bulbs in the town. We ask and are often been helped by members of the Local Groups. This shows them that what they plant comes up and provides a colourful area for a time. It also, hopefully, enables them to respect and look after their surroundings.

We do other work with the youngsters of Dalgety Bay by helping them sometimes with their gardening projects at the schools. We helped the pre-school nurseries develop their garden by obtaining a grant from the SGF and match funding this grant with our own money. The children there now have a couple of half size water barrels and watering cans to water all the plants they are growing.

Michael J Gourlay (Chairman, Dalgety Bay Horticultural Society)

If you would like to contact Michael directly for advice, Leave A Reply below.

One thought on “Involving Youngsters With Your Horticultural Society

  1. Pingback: Involving Youngsters With Your Horticultural Society | Scottish Gardeners' Forum

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