Pershore in Worcestershire, is for many, right at the heart of the garden of England.
As a county, Worcestershire has grown such variety of produce, flowers and plants for generations that growing is in the blood for many families living in the area.
However, one of the county’s leading High Schools, Pershore High, on Station Road Pershore has gone a bit further than most to continue that tradition. They offer their students the opportunity to take lessons in horticulture, and have even become a registered centre for learning and qualifications of the RHS syllabus.
Their efforts in gardening have been recognised by leading horticulturalist and gardening writer Peter Seabrook, who is creating a garden at this month’s Chelsea Flower Show. He has enlisted the help of students at the school to grow some key items for display in his garden.
The students have produced seventy Tea Pots of Mint, many of which will be seen as part of the display that will be viewed by people from all over the world at the show in London from the 21st to 26th May, and will receive many hours of TV coverage.
All the tea pots were donated by people living in the area following our plea for unwanted pots on social media earlier in the year.
Students have taken cuttings of 11 different varieties of mint, all from the plants grown at Fresh @ Burcot Garden Centre, and rooted these before potting them up to grow on and plant into the tea pots.
So why Tea Pots of Mint? Peter Seabrook explained: “You may not know that, until the demise of the coal mining industry, mint was grown extensively on nurseries around the Vale of Evesham and into Gloucestershire, particularly during the First World War to supply the miners of South Wales with their mint tea. Yes, Mint Tea is not a modern drink for trendy households, it was consumed in vast quantities by those burley, brave miners as it was a great lung decongestant, and helped them rid their bodies of all the coal dust they breathed in.”
Mr Phil Hanson, Pershore High Schools’ Headteacher, said: “It has been a bit of a history lesson for the students as well as great experience in growing plants for such a prestigious show. Let’s hope we have been growing for gold at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show.
"You may well have read Peter Seabrook’s column on the gardening section of The Sun in April, talking about the garden he is building and recognising the help and enthusiasm of the students at Pershore High School."
This month has also seen the first cohort of Pershore High School students gain RHS Foundation and RHS Level 1 qualification. Teaching Assistant Anne Watson who heads up the initiative at the school said: "We have all been on a steep learning curve these last few months. The students have worked really hard, and the support we have had from parents, the community and colleagues is superb. On the restricted budgets we have in the school we could not have achieved what we have done without the generosity of time and materials from many people and businesses, not least Fresh @ Burcot Garden Centre at Bromsgrove. One of their owners, Neil Gow, comes into school every month to help students with their learning."
Also supporting the horticulture project at Pershore High School has been Stewart Plastics, Vitax, Gardeners Kitchen, Westland, Meadow View and Crest, with the supply of equipment and materials.
Parents and friends of the school, and customers from Fresh @ Burcot Garden Centre will have the opportunity to buy one of the Tea Pots of Mint, so they can have their own little bit of Chelsea in their garden at home. All the funds raised from selling the Tea Pots of Mint will be ploughed straight back into the horticultural facilities at Pershore High School for the benefit of current and future students.