SCHOOLCHILDREN inspired by the Wonky Garden community project have won a prestigious competition.

Pupils from Saints Peter and Paul Catholic College in Widnes have created the winning garden design in the Royal Horticultural Society’s Green Plan It Challenge for the north west area.

The 10 week challenge saw 80 green-fingered 12-14 year-olds tasked with developing a design for a new school or community garden, working alongside professional garden designers, landscape architects and other horticultural industry insiders.

A group of the teenagers worked witih Angela Hayler from the Wonky Garden project to develop their ideas.

Students presented their imaginative 3D design for a new garden for judging at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester competing against seven other schools.

Their design is set to transform a neglected space in their school grounds into a relaxing space as well as a haven for wildlife.

The team said: “When students struggling with Autistic Spectrum Disorder and behavioural problems are feeling stressed they can come to our garden to relax and learn in a peaceful environment.”

The judges were impressed by the group’s enthusiasm for plants and how they had designed the garden for others.

The challenge encouraged pupils to consider the benefits of communal green spaces and explore environmental issues while developing leadership, teamwork and creative skills.

Teacher Ashleigh Scott, a teacher at Saints Peter and Paul said: “This has been a brilliant opportunity for the school, students and community to try something new.

“Students have been able to use their science, technology, English and maths knowledge and develop their knowledge of horticulture while also working alongside the community.

“Winning has resulted in an amazing response from the school which is excited to start the process of implementing the garden designed by their own pupils.”

RHS head of community outreach,Andrea Van-Sittart said: “The Green Plan It Challenge is designed to support young people to develop a host of new skills including teamwork, creativity and problem-solving and, we hope, to inspire some future Alan Titchmarshs and Monty Dons.

“All of the entries reveal an understanding of the important role that gardens can play both in terms of providing space to work and reflect and as a home for wildlife and the plants they rely on. We’d love to see some of these gardens come to fruition as we set about greening our grey Britain.”