Young horticulturalists and artists in the Borough recognised

Tuesday 25 October 2022

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Noel Williams, has announced the winners and runners-up of the Mid and East Antrim In Bloom Young People’s Blooming Creative Competition and Best School Gardening Project.

The Mayor said: “Well done everyone. The standard of entries was outstanding this year.

"I am pleased to announce the winner of the Blooming Creative Competition is Tori Graham, age 10, from Carrickfergus with her colourful drawing of Carrickfergus Castle with Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth. Runner up is Isla Kirkpatrick, age 6, from Larne with her painting of a beautiful sunflower and Jaxon Addis, age 3 from Larne with his painting of colourful blooms."

Saint Anthony's Primary School in Larne are the winners in the Best School Gardening Project. The whole school together with staff and parents enhanced the courtyard by planting evergreen plants, scented flowers herbs and even a blossoming blueberry bush! Children worked hard, using their own homemade compost and leaf mould to enhance the soil and to give the new plants the best start. The children made sure to keep the plants well-watered, using rain water from their water butt. For all the planting, previous years’ seeds and cutting were used. The new and improved bug hotel, which is filled with logs to stimulate biodiversity and increase natural habitats around the school grounds is already generating interest in the insect world. Bees and butterflies love the new plants, especially the flowers of the blueberry bush! Lots of re-purposed materials such as tyres for planters, broken pots as features and old metal fencing as a new pond cover have been used throughout this spruce up. Now, not only the whole school community, but also the insects, birds and small mammals can enjoy this space!

The two very worthy runners up this year are Millquarter Primary School in Toomebridge and Glynn Primary School in Larne.

At Millquarter Primary, P7 pupils are presented with the challenge of working on a project. One of the pupils, Lochie, combined his love of nature and interest in gardening to help solve a very real problem faced by the school - keeping the plants watered during the summer months - with the design and creation of a solar powered self-watering green wall. This now attracts pollinators and also encourages younger pupils’ interest in gardening and plants. The plants on the wall flourished throughout the summer and have attracted lots of pollinators, much to the delight of the younger children.

Glynn Primary School P7 pupils and staff planned and created a pollinator hub. This included native hedgerow planting, the building of a wooden outdoor education space known as Jubilee Lodge and the main focus, a new large triangular pollinator flower bed. The location of the bed means that it can viewed by the community as it has two sides adjacent to the public footpath. Pollinator friendly plants encourage bees to visit and then travel onwards to surrounding village gardens, trees and parks. The aim of the new hub is to encourage everyone to use the outside space around the school for exercise, work or quiet contemplation.