RHS Harlow Carr in Harrogate teaching garden

Pupils from around the region will be able to uncover the mysteries of growing plants and environmental conservation at a new �3m learning centre

Thousands of children will have the chance later this year to share a passion for plants and learn about environmental conservation at a teaching garden being created as part of a new Royal Horticultural Society learning centre and library.

The teaching garden at RHS Harlow Carr, Harrogate, will allow children to discover where their food comes from, learn how to grow plants and how to take care of their natural environment.

Children from Beckwithshaw Community Village Primary School in Harrogate joined in the topping out celebrations when 100 brightly coloured, biodegradable balloons were released into the air.

Supporters of the project raised more than �3 million to pay for the new building which is one of the greenest in the country. RHS president Giles Coode-Adams said each year thousands of children from across the region will be educated in the fundamental skills of gardening and caring for the environment. ‘Our efforts have concentrated on making this building the best horticultural resource in the North of England,’ he added.

Building began in November 2008 and, despite the wet summer, is on track for completion in spring this year. It is constructed to minimise its carbon footprint and is expected to be awarded the highest rating possible for sustainable buildings.

The energy saving equipment used in the building includes a ground source heat pump, solar heating, wind turbine and grey water recycling system. The copper and sedum-covered roof, which will form a natural habitat for wildlife, provides the building’s crowning glory.

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Andy Tordoff, assistant director of environment at Yorkshire Forward, which provided �340,000 towards the learning centre, said it will be an excellent venue for both children and adults to learn about horticulture and the environment.

‘The materials used to build the centre are all sustainable or recycled which will add to the appeal of the building and make it relevant to the subject it will teach,’

For more information on the Garden and Learning Centre see www.rhs.org.uk/harlowcarr.

The RHS educational department organises school visits, teacher training through continuing professional development, adult learning courses and RHS qualifications. For more information on RHS Education visit: www.rhs.org.uk/education.

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