Chelsea flower show fever hits Norwich

It is the biggest event in the gardening calendar – and the Chelsea Flower Show is helping to inspire people in Norwich.

As well as the garden in the sky and other eye-catching exhibits from professional gardeners there are also humbler contributions including different sized boxes where people, including schoolchildren, have chosen to grow their own.

And today people in Norwich said they had definitely caught the gardening bug, partly encouraged by the Chelsea Flower Show.

Pupils at Cavell Primary School on Lakenham Way had already embarked on a gardening project, Ground to Grub, where they grow their own food and help supply the school kitchen.

Their allotment on the school grounds includes a polytunnel measuring nearly 18ft by 32ft and around 25 raised beds.

The school has an outside classroom where pupils learn about the food they are growing and how to harvest and cook it.

Headteacher Simon Wakeman said: 'Children spend an hour a week gardening. We have two gardening teaching assistants who, together, make a full-time role.

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'Pupils harvest and cook the crops using the outside kitchen and are helping with production in the school kitchen.'

He added: 'The allotment is about a much wider issue of where the food comes from. Children are learning how to grow organically and prepare food.

'Around the perimeter of the allotment is a grazing strip, where snack foods such as strawberries, raspberries and peas are grown for children to enjoy at playtime.'

The school is keen to teach children how to grow and produce locally to cut down food miles.

'It is about core values. They understand that you can produce something that doesn't cost a lot and you can then sell it and reinvest to grow again. It is about economics and enterprise. The children are trying new foods and are looking forward to eating what they are growing.

'It also means we have a unique menu for school lunches with dishes including sticky lemon chicken and bean casserole. We don't cook from frozen, it is all cooked from scratch.' Mr Wakeman said.

Sam Bennett, from Taverham Garden Centre, said the store had seen an increase in people looking to grow their own produce. She said: 'Many people who grow their own have allotments but we have also seen a rise in the number of people who are growing in pots on their patios.

'Children are growing their own, particularly courgettes and beans because they can see them growing quickly. We have a range of seeds for younger children with cartoon characters on and mini tools such as spades and forks.

'Younger people have started to take up gardening and are growing their own lettuces, tomatoes and radishes. Peppers and chillies are also popular.

'I think people are choosing to grow their own because they are getting more conscious about what they eat and they like to pick what they have grown. They are also helping the environment because they are travelling less miles.'

The Hewett School in Lakenham has also caught the gardening bug and has created a two-acre market garden. The organic garden was set up recently to provide a year round supply of vegetables to the school kitchen and to be sold to parents and the neighbouring community.

Have you won a medal at Chelsea this year or are you setting up a school garden? Contact reporter Lucy Wright on 01603 772495 or email