Hundreds of children and thousands of plants came together in a party like atmosphere last week for the annual Planting in the Park competition.
The Banbury Town Council event in Peoples Park attracted 13 primary schools from the Banbury area who came together in the inter-school event to plant 2,500 flowers and compete for the Best Centre Piece trophy.
This years theme was space and each bed was bedecked by rockets, aliens or planets the children had made in the weeks leading up to the event.
Ann Sewell, event manager at Banbury Town Council, said: “They each have a centre piece, they prepare it at school. They will stay here. What we like to do is encourage parents into park and see what the children have done.
“One its interactive and two its teaching them about horticulture as well, there learning but we like to make it fun for them too. We have music, stilt walkers, they love it, they absolutely love it.”
Frank Wise School were one of the participating schools whose intricate spaceship centre piece featured pictures of the students as astronauts and integrated working parts.
Beth Lovell, a teacher at the school, said: “We have done it for a few years now. We have tried to use all recyclable items so that we’re also saving the planet which links to the theme of space.
She added: “We have also made our own little alien Banbury Rocks which we’ll leave as part of the community thing that has been going on.”
The children not only learn but they do so in an environment impossible to recreate within a classroom setting.
Head teacher Sean O’Sullivan said: “They see it as a real day out and a bit of an adventure in a way.
“With it being lovely dry soil its almost like being in the sand at the beach, those sensory textures.”
He added: “They’ve done lots of work and it’s taken them weeks getting all the preparation done. They have done a special compartment that opens up with all the controls for driving the rocket.”
The collaborative aspect of the event within a public park provides the children other opportunities.
Sarah Gordon-Weeks, a teacher at Dashwood Primary School, said: “ Its a lovely community event where all the schools get a chance to come and work together to do something for the community.
“The children don’t get a chance to do this everyday and it’s about giving something back to the community, working with different people because they’re in a different class”
Ann Sewell added: “It is the only event we do where we bring all the schools together which is really nice.”