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Arley Garden Festival
Saturday 29th & Sunday 30th June 2024

Already booked in! Whitegate Primary School, Oughtrington Community Primary School, Middlewich Primary School, Grappenhall Heys Community Primary School, Lostock Gralam Primary School, The Ryleys School and Croft Primary School.

As part of our annual Garden Festival, now in its 29th year, we would like to invite your primary school to take part in our Schools Gardening Challenge. We would like local schools to be involved with this initiative, and work with us from now until June to create a garden with your children, we always have several local schools taking part so plenty of competition but this year we wanted to make it extra special with lots more schools taking part.

Our aim is to encourage children to think and learn about the natural environment in which they live. Your flowerbed can include topics such as biology, geography, art/design, and conservation. Practical working skills and working together as a team will be important elements of this project.

This year the winner of our gardening challenge will win a raised flowerbed similar to the one used on the show days but slightly deeper and will enable more to be grown in it. Arley will deliver the flowerbed to the winning school the week after the festival along with 10 packs of compost. All the materials have been donated by Huws Gray Buildbase, Northwich and we are delighted they are once again sponsoring this part of the show.

Each school will also receive 10 adult and 10 child complimentary show entry tickets to be given to any staff, helpers or parents for their access on show days, they can only be used once.

Alongside the ‘official’ judging, which will take place at 10.30 on Saturday 29th June, and for which we would really like some of the children to be present, we are also asking the public to vote by selecting their favourite flowerbed. The visitor to the show vote with a token given to them when they enter the show and the winning school will receive a free child admission ticket to Arley for use during 2024.


We would like the children to think about the different uses of plants in their gardens, understanding that plants can be grown not only as food but for colour and design purposes as well. Some plants can be both decorative and edible, i.e., red leaved lettuce, the yellow flowers on courgettes.

As part of this project the children will see how to grow plants and the stages of plant growth from seed, germination, and maturity. The impact of our gardens on the environment and vice versa could also be covered as well as careful use of natural materials, consider using recycled compost, the benefits of growing your own food locally and how these impact on our environment.


We would estimate that you would need to begin thinking about your garden now, ready for planting your seeds for your garden soon after Easter and have clear ideas on its theme and the plants to be grown. Our head Gardener, Gordon Baillie is happy to discuss any thoughts or ideas you may have for your flowerbed and provide any advice you may need on timescales and planting. We will reimburse you for any seeds you have to buy for your flowerbed up to the value of £20.

On the show days we will provide a wooden raised flowerbed (8ft x 4ft complete with compost) in which you can plant and create your garden using the plants you have grown at your school. You are allowed to use some plants that you have not grown yourself but must make sure that the majority have been grown by the children. There will be marquee space close by for any supporting artwork, design and pictures relating to this project, this will be part of the judging process so make sure you take plenty of pictures throughout the year. Please do not use the marquee walls to display any of your work.

Please make sure that you only use the flowerbed for your display and do not extend wider or longer than the dimensions of the flowerbed above, you can however build upwards with posts for hanging baskets and staple things to your flowerbed.

Set up and planting of your garden would be from 10.00 am on Thursday 27th June and Friday 28th June, with breakdown of the display either at the close of the show on Sunday evening, or the following Monday or Tuesday. Unfortunately, in the past we have had schools not turn up on the set-up days and this has led to empty flowerbeds. As you can image this is very disappointing and detracts from the quality and appearance of the show, because of this any flowerbed that has not been filled by 5pm on Friday 28th will be removed from the showground.

If you haven’t taken part before each year the show attracts many specialist plant nurseries and societies as well as horticultural accessories with guided garden tours by Lord Ashbrook and Head Gardener Gordon Baillie also taking place each day, garden entry is also included in a visitor ticket with early booking discounts available online. NEW this year for the Children’s entertainment includes a fun dog show on both days along with Animal Teach @animalteach, an exciting, educational workshop provider with National Curriculum links, their vision is to inspire all generations to truly connect with the natural world by providing fun opportunities for learning how to care for all animals. Snakes, gecko’s, chameleon, frogs, snails and spiders will all be at the show! Discover Tree Climbing and of course ice cream will all be at the show along with live jazz music and a food fair.

If you feel you would like to be involved or have any queries, please email

I would be grateful for your confirmed response by Friday 28th March.