Guildford in Bloom held its Schools in Bloom Awards at Edwins Garden Centre in Clandon where a record 18 schools had entered and were duly rewarded for their horticultural efforts in creating gardens within their schools.

The overall winning school is St Joseph’s Specialist Trust, a Specialist, all age School for autistic children.  The school educates a wide range of autistic youngsters.   All students have at least one horticulture lesson a week.

This year also saw special awards going to Northmead Junior School for Best First Time Entry; Gosden School for Best Vegetable Grower; Worplesdon Primary School for Best Wildlife Garden and Boxgrove Primary School for Most Improved School. A full list of winners and awards is currently on the Guildford in Bloom website;

The Guildford in Bloom Schools team visited all the schools, which ranged from nursery and pre-prep through to junior schools, special schools and a senior school.  The aim of Schools in Bloom is to get young children involved in gardening for both education and wellbeing.  The children have grown flowers and food and worked to the theme of ‘Wild About a Greener Guildford’ – this required them to create areas in the garden to encourage and protect wildlife – from bug hotels to being part of a hedgehog corridor to growing nectar rich plants.  Schools were also encouraged to use gardening, growing and the care of wildlife within the curriculum.

Judges Shirley West and Caroline Coleman said:

“This year we are delighted to say that the number of Schools entering our competition has increased to 18.  This is great news.  Our theme “Wild about a Greener Guildford” helped the schools look at the wildlife provisions on their sites and we hope this work will continue long term.  Our Partners, Surrey Wildlife Trust are on hand to advise and support this.

St Joseph’s Specialist Trust was the natural winner this year with their outstanding provision for education through gardening, their facilities and the way they engage all pupils learning through the garden at all levels of ability.  A worthy overall winner.

The prize this year was a trophy to be displayed at School, a framed certificate, a garden book and a voucher to spend at a Garden Centre.

The event was attended by our sponsors and held at Edwins Garden Centre Clandon who laid on a fabulous potting exercise and refreshments for the children attending.”

John Steward, Horticulture Teacher at St Joseph’s Specialist Trust said:

“Nearly all our students at our School enjoy engaging with horticulture at least once a week.  The students who attended the awards ceremony were very excited to have won as the ‘overall winner’ of the competition.  Most of the students in the school contributed towards the Guildford in bloom entry for 2024.”

Paul Spooner, Chairman of Guildford in Bloom said: “Schools in Bloom has been a great success once again. This year we have seen more entries than ever from schools of all types and sizes. We are very grateful to all sponsors and particularly Lee at Edwin’s Garden Centre. The children love potting up the plants to take home. This is appreciated as a very generous gesture.”

The Schools in Bloom Award in an integral part of Guildford in Bloom and ensures that the love of gardening and caring for wildlife is firmly planted in the future generation.

Guildford in Bloom is funded through the generous sponsorship of St Edward Homes, Unigold 2000 Ltd, Chapters Financial, Tunsgate Quarter, Experience Guildford, Guildford Financial, Clandon Wood Nature Reserve, Cressive DX and the Surrey County Council URBOA Project.  We are also grateful for the continued of support of Tesco Guildford who provided seeds for all the entrants.

The main Guildford in Bloom competition has now closed for entries, and judges are already out and about judging everything from front gardens to nature projects – winners of the main competition will be announced in September.

Further information on Guildford in Bloom can be found at

VantagePoint is a media partner to Guildford in Bloom