Rydal Hall sunflower project encourages environmental education

This Summer may have been a bit of a washout but the Sunflower project has been teaching Ambleside schoolchildren about growing plants and food cycles.

Ambleside schoolchildren planting seeds at Rydal Hall’s community vegetable garden as part of the sunflower project. Courtesy Ambleside Primary School. In the competition, organised by Hayes Garden Centre, pupils were asked to design a packet for their sunflower seeds and one of the lucky winners was six year old Benjamin Rowley from Ambleside Primary School.

The school teamed up with Rydal Hall, the Diocese of Carlisle Conference, Retreat & Holiday Centre and found support from Ambleside’s Kelsick Trust, the competition grew into the sunflower project. Also on board were Joyce Hallam, former head teacher of Hawkshead school and Amy Boud from Playful Nature.

Working with Kate Jackson, Head Gardener at Rydal, the schoolkids grew sunflowers from seeds in their classroom, looking after the budding plants until they were able to be planted in the Rydal Hall community vegetable garden.

The budding gardeners also planted fruits, vegetables and herbs in the garden’s raised beds and were taught about how plants grow and the local environment.

“It was great to see how enthusiastic they were to learn about plants and nature. They’re going to love watching the plants grow, especially as they see just how tall a sunflower can grow!” said Kate Jackson.

“We’re delighted to be part of a project that involves the local community and introduces young children to nature and gardening,” Kate added.

The children’s creativity was also encouraged. They made instruments from sunflower seeds and wrote their own sunflower song.

Local artist Claire Humphrys, made ceramic sunflowers that the children painted. These are now on display in Rydal Hall’s tea shop for people to enjoy.


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CONTACT: Kate Jackson, Head Gardener at Rydal Hall on 07827 338420 or Rydal Hall on 015394 30833.