Scholastic UK and the Royal Horticultural Society have launched a new series of illustrated activity books for children. Aimed at encouraging readers to explore and enjoy nature outdoors, the books have been inspired by RHS gardens across the country.
The first three titles in the series were launched in the spring and include The Outdoor Adventure Handbook, which looks at discovering plants and wildlife and getting closer to nature, with activities for all weathers. Further books in the series will follow in autumn 2021 and beyond.
To celebrate the release of the first titles, Scholastic UK has also launched a nationwide gardening competition, encouraging children to create their own unique garden designs. The competition kicked off in June and will run for four months, welcoming all sizes of garden design, ranging from miniature gardens in a tray or a garden pot, to a space in a back garden, community garden, or allotment.
The competition runs until September 30th 2021 and is open to all children aged seven to 12. The judges will include gardeners from the RHS.
The prize for first place will include a VIP guided tour of RHS Garden Wisley, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at RHS Hilltop – The Home of Gardening Science. RHS Hilltop is the UK’s first dedicated centre of excellence for horticultural research, which helps to protect the future of plants, people and the planet.
The prize winner will also receive a full set of RHS/ Scholastic publishing and a selection of RHS licensed products to encourage their future gardening efforts.
Cathy Snow, licensing manager, RHS, said: “The RHS is extremely excited to be involved with the judging of this competition and to provide a VIP behind-the-scenes tour of RHS Garden Wisley as part of the prize. We hope as many young people as possible will take on this design challenge and think creatively about designing a garden to suit their space at home – no matter the size of the space they have or whether it is indoors or outside.”
The Scholastic UK partnership has been curated at a time in which social restrictions have seen parents and families spending more time outside in gardens and parks. According to a survey carried out by the RHS last year, time spent gardening has increased 149 per cent, while 60 per cent of people with an outdoor space felt that having a garden helped their physical health during lockdown.
Matthew Pottage, Curator, RHS Garden Wisley, added: “My passion for gardening and growing plants started at an early age in my parents’ garden and developed into an amazing horticultural career with the RHS. I’d love this competition to inspire young people to get involved and share in my love of gardening. I’d encourage them to enter the competition – no matter what their ability or space – to be creative and to marvel at the wonder of the natural world around them.”
Elizabeth Scoggins, publisher non-fiction, brands and licensing, Scholastic UK, concluded: “Gardens and gardening have been more important than ever to our wellbeing in recent months and few gardens are as well-loved as the five RHS gardens that are among this country’s greatest horticultural achievements. They have been an ideal inspiration both for our new range of books and for this competition, which will, we believe, attract and delight children all over the UK.”