Green-fingered youngsters from Swansea schools are busy putting the finishing touches to their gardens for the annual Swansea in Bloom competition.
The schools competition is sponsored by the Quadrant Shopping Centre and Premier Leisure Parks, and each year it attracts entries from over 30 primary and special schools.
Last year the winners of the schools gardening Premier League were Blaen y Maes Primary School, who defied vandals to lift the prestigious David Franklin Trophy.
They smashed up the children’s garden ahead of the competition, breaking their poly tunnel and causing other damage, but they managed to patch things up and win with a Dylan Thomas-themed garden.
The weather has been the problem this year according to school caretaker Alison Williams, Teaching Assistant at Blaen y Maes and Leader of the Gardening Club, who said: “It has been very cold and windy and we’ve lost a lot of plants but we’re hoping for the best and for the sun to come out.”
Quadrant Shopping Centre Manager Ian Kirkpatrick is delighted to again support the competition and he said: “There is always a wonderful standard in this competition and Blaen y Maes had to be very good last year to hold off the challenge of Cila – both gardens were fantastic and the judges had a difficult time separating them.
“But we’re always pleased to back such a great competition – Swansea really is a very floral city and I hope this competition and the work of Swansea in Bloom will inspire these youngsters to become the next generation of gardeners.
“Swansea in Bloom and the City Council do a wonderful job of filling the city with colourful blooms every year, especially at the Quadrant where there is always a spectacular display of hanging baskets.”
Co-sponsors are Mark and Sheryl Mead, of Premier Leisure Parks, and Mark said: “I’m a very keen gardener myself and I think it’s very important for children to get involved in gardening and in understanding where a lot of their food comes from.
“It also gives them a real knowledge of nature and too many children these days don’t seem to get that.”
Leighton Evans, Chairman of Swansea in Bloom and a champion dahlia grower himself, said: “The standard is always very high but we haven’t given them a theme this year as we felt it could be a bit restrictive.
“They can choose a theme themselves or lay their gardens out as they wish but I’m sure they will once again rise to the occasion and we’ll have some wonderful displays.”
George Henderson, Marketing Manager for the Quadrant Shopping Centre, said: “This is such a good competition and one we have supported for a number of years.
“You only have to walk around Swansea and the whole area around here to see that it is a wonderful area for flowers and all kinds of garden produce and we see this event as maintaining that wonderful tradition.”