Reporter Hilary Scott visited Priorsford Primary School this week to discover how green-fingered pupils have grown an award-winning garden which secured them the highest accolade from the Royal Horticultural Society.

BILL and Ben the Flower Pot Men might have been the success of the popular television show in the 1950s, but at Priorsford Primary they took form in the shape of Jane and Jimmy who, with a passion for gardening, helped the school blossom and the pupils grow.

Class teacher Jane Davidson teamed up with support worker Jimmy Urquhart and together they harvested a plan to grow the school garden from simple raised beds to a colourful paradise of flowers, plants, herbs, fruit and vegetables.

With an army of budding gardeners eager to plant, prune and weed, the school added a polytunnel complete with watering system and their flourishing garden is now being praised by experts.

As Jane teaches Primary 3, the school’s garden is mainly managed by her pupils, although she says children who have moved up through the year groups haven’t lost pride for the green haven they helped create and still like to lend a hand.

The school has been working through the levels of the RHS School Gardening Awards, gaining £100 in seeds and £200 in gardening vouchers. But their latest award is something to be proud of as level five is the cream of the crop.

Priorsford is now waiting to discover how many other schools in Scotland have received this award – it is possible they could be the only one in the Scottish Borders.

The school held an outdoor learning open morning last Friday where pupils showed off the garden and families explored the green leafed wonders of the polytunnel.

Speaking to Jane it’s clear her love of gardening has had a positive impact on the pupils. “During the open morning the children were selling plants and produce, all the money is re-invested. Over the last couple of years we have raised over £1,000, so as well as all the gardening it’s also enterprising.”

Jane explained that the benefits of gardening to health and well-being have been well documented. “For quiet children who maybe find the playground challenging it’s a peaceful and calm place to seek solace.”

Should there ever be a problem with food deliveries for lunches, you won’t hear tummies rumbling at this school as the kitchen use the produce to whip up some tasty meals.

And the love of gardening doesn’t stop at school for the young horticulturists.

“Because the children in P3 are so enthusiastic I feel that goes home with them,” said Jane. “We’ve now got quite a lot of families who before would never purchase plants, flowers or veggies and now they’ve not got little vegetable patches in their garden.”

Following a tour of the impressive garden, Jane steals me away to tell me the school has its very own “Monty Don” who goes by the name of Jimmy.

“He has put in endless hours and really has gone above and beyond. He always has new ideas and has a fantastic manner with the children.”

“Jimmy has been instrumental in rigging up the solar panels and we’ve now got a generator that gives us water pressure from the hose because watering was a problem last summer, we had to carry watering cans from the school. None of this was possible without his input and dedication.”

The gardening club now hopes to embark on new projects and are now considering creating a pallet garden.

I leave the school with the beautiful gift of a Dahlia and the answer to my question: Priorsford how does your garden grow?

It is with Jane and Jimmy, who planted seeds in the little minds of this school and watched them blossom into the award-winning gardeners they are today.