Pocket Garden

The 2018 One Planet Picnic Pocket Garden competition provides a great opportunity for pupils aged 3-18 to investigate plants and food, develop creative design skills and apply that knowledge to create a sustainable garden. This year's competition themes are: One Planet Picnic, the United Nations Global Goals and Wildlife Gardening.  Details were provided in the 2018 competition brochure.  The deadline for entries was Friday 9 February and the winners were announced on 21 February. 

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:   

Each year competition winners are invited to build and grow their gardens to display in the Garden for Life creating an inspiring centrepiece.  The Garden for Life area encourages seasoned and new gardeners to adopt sustainable principles. Competition statistics include: Over 500 competition entries; 225 schools taking part; entries from schools in 30 of the 32 Scottish local authority areas. 

View the 2018 Winning Entries

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

Benefits of Taking Part

  • This competition allows pupils to plan and design, using plants as a key design element. It builds transferable skills to design growing spaces and develop school grounds.
  • The competition links to Eco-Schools Scotland work and offers opportunity for inter-generational and whole school community contribution.
  • The competition provides a context for Learning for Sustainability within Curriculum for Excellence experiences and outcomes - see competition brochure for more detail.
  • The Global Goals aim to end extreme poverty, inequality and climate change by 2030.


Have a look at the Pocket Garden Stories from 2017.

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.

2017 Competition Winners

In 2017, the competition was part of the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology. The winning schools were:

Nursery - P4 Category

  • Ullapool Primary School, Highland: The Vikings are coming! A viking longship rowed by radish and beetroot is in full sail in this design, through a Scottish wildflower meadow towards Maeshowe ancient burial mound.
  • Tarradale Primary School, Highland: Tarradale Nuresry interpreted a story they enjoy about a scarecrow, Tattybogle, linking literature, planting and old-fashioned pest control.
  • BunSgoil a' Phluic, Highland: On the Machair. Peas scramble up a fishing net and our coastal riches appear throughout this design that uses companion planting to protect the food plants from pests.
  • Focus School Caledonia Campus, Clackmannanshire: Nature's Hospital is featured here highlighting the medicinal properties of plants and the plants people used to use for first aid.
  • Arnhall Day Nursery, Stirling: Arnhall's Living Past. A wonderful blend of archaeology and modern picnic, the children have used old objects dug up from the Nursery grounds as planters for food plants. Some objects are converted into bug hotels.
  • Allanton Primary School and Nursery Class, North Lanarkshire: A mining bogey planted with lavender runs past a wind turbine shaped bird feeder, tying together our industrial heritage and future.

P5 - S2 Category

  • Ardvreck Primary School, Perth & Kinross: Coastal cottages and gardens rise up through farms and forests to mountains showing the rich diversity of Scottish habitats and plants.
  • Staffin Primary School, Highland: Prehistoric Park. An erupting volcano transports us back in time to the dinosuars that once walked on Skye and the story of the landscape. Populated with food plants and plants for wildlife, this is a garden that rocks.
  • Gigha Primary School, Argyll & Bute: Gigha Primary School have designed their whole island in mininature, complete with it's rocky cast, beaches, buildings and a course of cress.
  • Knightswood Secondary School, Glasgow: The iconic Kelpies are re-created here echoing Scotland's heritage of myths as well as the modern sculptures. These Kelpies will be havens for wildlife covered in flowering plants.
  • Douglas Academy, East Dunbartonshire: Caledonia. Inspired by the song, a passion for music and Scotland's plants and wildlife, this design cleverly weaves together our natural and musical heritage.
  • Baljaffray Primary School, East Dunbartonshire: Baljaffray Primary took inspiration from Scottish design heritage and feature a Charles Rennie Mackintosh rose as the centerpiece of their design.
  • Williamwood High School, East Renfrewshire: Teddy bears are enjoying a picnic at the beach in this design, which features vertical growing and some iconic Scottish emblems from technology and tall tales!
  • Burnside Primary School, South Lanarkshire: "Look maw, its the Rag n' Bone Man" a blast from the past and a tradition of re-using in this colourful design of a rag n' bone cart bursting with plants and personality.
  • Harmeny School, Edinburgh: Plants from the Celtic Rainforest appear in this design of a Crannog, reminding us of times past and with inspired ideas for loooking after widlife.

S3 - S6 Category

  • Dunoon Grammar School, Argyll & Bute: All aboard! Oh flowers of Scotland from Dunoon Grammar School shows the Flying Scotsman locomotive in full bloom!
  • Grove Academy, Dundee City: This inspired design is a dome shape, representing the Northern hemisphere and reflecting our place on the planet. It is built using materials reminiscent of a hive and features wild and native plant species.
  • Carluke High School, South Lanarkshire: Bricks and jam are part of Carluke's heritage and are used to great effect in this design that celebrates local history, local food and the importance of compost!
  • Pinewood School, West Lothian: This heritage and wildlife farm celebrates wood, soil and the austere beauty of a landscape that fuelled the industrial revolution. Tree lines that sheltered the first fields and crops of humble potatoes appear and provide new habitat for wildlife.

Pot and Container Category

  • St Joseph Primary School, East Dunbartonshire: In a Dinner lady's hat.
  • Laurieston Day Nursery, Glasgow: In an old Doll's house.
  • Bervie Primary School, Aberdeenshire: When is a hairbrush not a hairbrush? When its made from chives!
  • Dykesmains Primary School, North Ayrshire: Tomato plant in an old tin of tomato soup.
  • Dykesmains Primary School, North Ayrshire: In a builder's hat.
  • Dykesmains Primary School, North Ayrshire: In an old toy truck.
  • Dykesmains Primary School, North Ayrshire: In an old football.
  • Leuchars Primary School, Fife: In a range of containers that you might find at a picnic on the beach.
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