Celebrating an on-growing 10-year collaboration
Garsons is proud to have actively supported Wicor Primary School under the Growing with Schools scheme for over 10 years providing vouchers, plants, seeds, compost and planting advice, helping the school to achieve wonderful opportunities for our young gardeners of the future.
Garsons ‘Growing with Schools’ campaign designed to inspire and teach children a love of gardening formed a relationship with Wicor School in 2011 where the roots began to form.
In 2012 the main focus at Wicor was the introduction of a tropical garden. The school received £250 worth of Garsons vouchers to put towards the new garden in association with Fareham in Bloom and National Garden Scheme.
2013 / 2014
2013 / 2014 saw the launch of Wicor’s Fresh Produce Boxes, a scheme funded by the purchase of seeds and compost from Garsons. The children are fully involved in growing and harvesting the seasonal produce. The Box scheme has gone from strength to strength and continues to be very popular amongst the school and local community.
In 2015 Garsons was introduced to Wicor’s first ‘Harfest’ event. Children sampled lots of delicious food and drink donated by Garsons from the Farm Shop while learning about where food and drink is sourced from.
Wicor’s new coastal garden officially opened in 2016. Garsons donated wooden pallets to the school enabling Year 5 pupils to plan, design and construct a new coastal path. The transformation was amazing and seeing the children’s involvement from start to finish was truly inspiring.
During the same year Garsons donated a number of bug hotels to the school to help encourage different types of minibeasts and insects for children to watch and learn more about. The pond was also an area the school required help and advice on, so we arranged to send along an expert from Garsons resident Aquatic Centre, who assisted with clearing the pond and gave advice on how to tend to the plants planted in the pond.
Garsons received a call from Wicor during 2017 requesting help in sourcing plants for an up-and-coming segment due to be filmed by BBC Gardeners’ World, presented by Flo Headlam. It was our pleasure to help during this very exciting time for the school. The tv episode gave the school great coverage showcasing the wonderful grounds at Wicor as well as highlighting to other schools what can be achieved on a small or large scale.
During a very wet day in 2018 our plant experts Callum and Tommy visited Wicor to assist the school’s volunteers with various jobs like cutting back roses. Callum and Tommy had a great time. They especially enjoyed sharing their plant knowledge with the volunteer team.
On a contrasting dry and hot day during the same year the school opened its gates to the local community during its annual National Garden Open Day event. It was well attended by past and present associations with the school. Garsons was honoured to be in attendance. Pete, a member of our Planteria Team, enjoyed showcasing a selection of seasonal plants and answering gardening questions too.
2019 was all about sizzling sausages and Allotmint soap. Wicor joined forces with our Farm Shop resident butchers Owton’s and created their very own Wicor Jack Sausage! The sausage is made using a wild herb called Jack by the Hedge, or Hedge Garlic which is foraged and picked on the school grounds by the children.
Later that same year, Garsons got in a lather over Wicor’s Allotmint soap when it became the first stockist of the amazing eco-friendly soap made by Wicor and a local soap producer Southsea Bathing Hut. The children came up with the idea of producing a botanical soap using mint that was already growing in the school’s grounds previously donated by Garsons. The children nurtured the mint and were taught how to harvest and dry it in preparation for its transformation to become the soaps star ingredient.
As the country went into its first lockdown in March 2020 the staff and children at Wicor had to switch to home learning overnight. Garsons was only too pleased to help during this time with the donation of thousands of seeds and bulbs which were amazingly hand delivered by the school to every child in an educational activity pack. This allowed the children to continue with the school’s ethos of environmental learning giving the pupils a sense of continuity that they were used to at school.
During this time Garsons doors were closed to customers and staff, leaving many seasonal plants needing new homes. Thankfully Wicor was only too pleased to take some of the plants for their flower borders. The school also offered plants to keyworker children attending school to take home to a loved one. But that wasn’t all, Wicor kindly chose to offer some of the plants to special people within the local community who deserved a little ‘thank you’ during the pandemic such as NHS workers. This was an amazing gesture during what was a very unsettling time for many.
In Spring 2021 as things started to slowly return to some sort of normal Garsons welcomed back two green-fingered pupils from Wicor who were presented with a cheque for £250 from Billy Owton of Owton’s butchers. The money raised was from the profit made from the sale of the very successful Wicor Jack Sausage.
We are now in 2022 over 10 years on and the roots of our relationship with our Growing with Schools partner are as strong as ever. We are busy planning more projects with Wicor such as sponsoring the school’s new wildflower strip. Seeds have been provided for the children to scatter amongst the trees in the new orchard and we’re excited to see the area flourish with flowers and wildlife over the coming months.
Wicor is a school where learners truly do grow, and it is a privilege for Garsons to play a small part in the inspiring environmental learning Wicor offers their pupils. We’re excited to be continuing our growing collaboration with the school which has blossomed into something more than we could ever have imagined.