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Pocket Garden

The Garden for Life Forum and Keep Scotland Beautiful have worked together since 2016 to support Scotland’s’ young people to create the Garden for Life (previously called The Living Garden) area at our national gardening show.

Over these three years we have presented a 'Design a One Planet Picnic Pocket Garden' competition. Young people aged 3-18 from schools across Scotland were asked to design a colourful and exciting pallet sized garden.  Each design must follow a design brief based on sustainability as well as illustrate annual themes One Planet Picnic, Wildlife Gardening and:   

  • 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design
  • 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology
  • 2018 the United Nations Global Goals 

The children’s designs are often playful, informal, celebratory and full of clever surprises and innovative ideas.  

View the 2018 Winning Designs

Each year design competition winners are invited to build and grow their gardens to display in the Garden for Life at Gardening Scotland, creating an inspiring centre piece. 

The Garden for Life area encourages seasoned and new gardeners to adopt sustainable principles. The garden has been visited by the BBC Beechgrove Garden team, the Scottish Government Minister for the Environment, the Scottish Government Minister for Education and the Lord Provost of Edinburgh as well as thousands of gardeners.

2018 Winning Pocket Gardens

Best Garden: One Planet Picnic Theme

Corsehill Primary School, North Ayrshire

This Pocket Garden was linked to Global Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy.  Earth, wind and fire joining water as sources of clean affordable energy as a windmill, a waterwheel, a solar panel and willow biomass.  In amongst the energy sources were food plants to provide energy for life.

Best Garden for Wildlife

Cowgate Under 5s Centre, Edinburgh


This Pocket Garden was linked to Global Goal 15: Life on Land.  It was inspired by plants that the children see growing wild in their outdoor spaces.  It celebrated life on land and is populated by mini-beasts and has food for people and wildlife including nettles and wild strawberries. 

Read Our Garden Story: Cowgate Under 5s

Best Garden: Global Goals Theme

Mill O’ Forest Primary School, Aberdeenshire

This Pocket Garden was linked to Global Goal 5: Gender Equality and Global Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation and highlighted the water journey.  Plants and people both depend on clean water to live and this pocket garden looked at who collects the water and how much time and energy is involved in getting this precious resource.

My Favourite Garden: Public Vote

Joint Winner: Larbert Day Nursery, Stirling

The pocket garden was linked to Global Goal 4: Quality Education and depicted a picnic in the deep, dark wood with creatures to spot, including a famous fictional character.  The pocket garden was linked to stories that connect us to the world through quality education.

Read Our Garden Story: Larbert Day Nursery

My Favourite Garden: Public Vote

Joint Winner - Corsehill Primary School, North Ayrshire

The pocket garden was linked to Global Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy.  Earth, wind and fire join water as sources of clean affordable energy as a windmill, a waterwheel, a solar panel and willow biomass.  In amongst the energy sources were food plants to provide energy for life.

Special Commendation:

Grove Academy, Dundee 

Global Goal 13: Climate Action – the think global, act local is a pathway to a sustainable world from 2018 to 2030.  It reminds us that our daily choice and actions have impacts beyond ourselves and can work to reduce climate change.

Special Commendation:

Bun Sgoil Stafainn, Highland

Global Goal 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth – the story of the wreck of the Clyde Puffer that foundered in 1919 during a storm in Staffin Bay.  A reminder of coastal industry and our ties to the sea for food and employment.

Read Our Garden Story: Bun Sgoil Staffainn

Special Commendation: 

Noblehill Primary, Dumfries & Galloway

Global Goal 14: Life below water – a wishing well is made into a home for wildlife on land.  It represents the pupils ‘wishes for fishes’ – cleaner seas, less plastic and healthy oceans.

Read Our Garden Story: Noblehill Primary School

One Planet Picnic Pocket Garden

Imagine a garden at Gardening Scotland, our national gardening show, designed, built and grown using principles of sustainability, full of plants you can eat as well as being good for wildlife. Imagine that it also celebrates the diversity of life across Scotland and is full of detail and humour. Now imagine that it is designed, built and grown by Scottish school pupils.

A brilliant article that originally appeared in the Caledonian Gardener, the annual magazine of the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society.

Download the article in full.

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