Children lack knowledge of plants

A nationwide survey by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has found that many children don’t know how everyday vegetables grow and cannot identify common English flowers.

A poll of 1000 children aged between six and 16 revealed that two thirds of children think that pumpkins grow on trees or in the ground and over half don’t know how broccoli and cucumbers grow. Over 50 per cent couldn’t recognise lavender or lilies and only 23 per cent of children could identify foxgloves, which are potentially harmful if eaten.

The results were revealed to mark the opening of a new RHS Learning Centre in Devon.

Alan Titchmarsh, RHS Vice President, says: ‘Some of the survey results were really positive, with around 90 per cent of children knowing where onions, strawberries, potatoes and bananas grow and almost 100 per cent recognising a rose, but the results also show that more vital work needs to be done to help children discover and learn about plants.’

The new Learning Centre at RHS Rosemoor is named in memory of the late RHS President Peter Buckley, and includes two large classrooms, a teaching terrace garden, raised vegetable beds, a sensory garden and dipping ponds. It offers free lessons about sustainability, the environment, wildlife and plants. Schools from anywhere in the UK can visit.

The RHS Campaign for School Gardening encourages and supports schools to actively use a school garden. It provides resources and curriculum-based lesson plans to help schools use gardening as an effective way of delivering the curriculum. To date over 13,000 schools have signed up to the Campaign, involving more than two million children.