Who’s Who: Crouch Hill mum named Royal Horticultural Society Gardening Champion of the Year 2019

Michelle Jones standing beside a sunflower in Ashmount Primary School's garden. Picture: Supplied

Michelle Jones standing beside a sunflower in Ashmount Primary School's garden. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

A Crouch Hill mum who beautified her area with two community gardens has been named the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) School Gardening Champion of the Year 2019.

Full-time mother Michelle Jones, 37, of Layden Mansions in Watersville Road, was diagnosed with a medical condition making her prone to blood clots in March last year. But this hasn't stopped her from transforming a "derelict" path of grass in her estate into a thriving communal garden, or from teaching kids at Ashmount Primary School to grow their own crops.

Michelle told the Gazette: "Because we live in an urban area, not many people get to grow food and most of the kids live in tower blocks.

"There is a mix of people in our block and we are like a family. Teaching children to grow, especially in the current climate when things cost so much, means it's good kids know how to do [garden].

"Children are growing strawberries in their wellies on the window sills of the 18th floor, it's lovely."

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Michelle "doesn't have lots of money" because she's on benefits but managed to forage the pots and materials she needed to create a "pretty" garden full of fruit and vegetables for the neighbours to take pride in. She did this with the help of sons Reece, 10, and Samuel, 6, who were interested in learning about where food came from.

Michelle claims Reece then pitched the headteacher and deputy headteacher at his Ashmount Primary School, asking for a gardening club on site. With support from the Parent Teachers Association Ashmount Together, Michelle has helped create a plot of cauliflowers, rhubarbs, radishes and more. They run a session for Ashmount school kids every Monday afternoon, as well as a session where parents and younger children can get involved on Thursdays.

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Michelle now hopes to introduce chickens at Ashmount in the future, and is in talks with St Mary Magdalene Academy to help set up a lunchtime gardening club.

The RHS judges' commented: "Michelle is the perfect example of how children, families and communities can all come together and support each other to improve their surroundings with beautiful plants."

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