As the RHS opens the Peter Buckley Learning Centre at RHS Garden Rosemoor in Devon to help inspire 7,000 children across the region to learn and garden, the charity reveals that many under 16’s don’t know how everyday vegetables grow and cannot identify common English flowers.
Results also showed that 29 per cent believe cucumbers grow in the ground and even more are unable to identify common garden flowers. Over 50 cent couldn’t recognise lavender or lilies and only 23 cent of children could identify foxgloves, which are potentially harmful if eaten.
Speaking about the survey results, Alan Titchmarsh, RHS Vice President, who will officially open the Peter Buckley Learning Centre on 12 April, says: "Some of the survey results were really positive, with around 90% of children knowing where onions, strawberries, potatoes and bananas grow and almost 100% recognising a rose, but the results also show that more vital work needs to be done to help children discover and learn about plants.
"Initiatives like the RHS Learning Centres at its gardens and its Campaign for School Gardening are incredibly important to make sure the younger generation doesn’t miss out on the health, wellbeing, fun and educational benefits that gardening brings to their lives."
Sue Biggs, RHS director general, says: "In the past we have had an annual waiting list of 1,000 school children at RHS Rosemoor wanting to use our old Learning Centre; it’s wonderful that this fantastic resource will allow us to increase, to 7,000, the number of children we can inspire with the joys of gardening and growing plants.
"We do more than any other charity to get children gardening and this survey shows why our work and commitment to do even more to help people of all ages to learn and grow is crucial. We already share our love of gardening and knowledge with over 2 million children and are looking forward to engaging with tens of thousands more budding gardeners this year. Gardening is a great way to get children outside, exercising and is hugely enjoyable – anything that gets my 14 year old nephew away from his play station must be a good thing!"
The new Learning Centre is named in memory of the late RHS President Peter Buckley, and includes two large classrooms, a teaching terrace garden, raised vegetable beds, a sensory garden and dipping ponds.