BBC BLUE Peter gardener Chris Collins visited Malvern to pass on a few tips to youngsters competing in the RHS Malvern Spring Festival’s school gardens challenge next year.

Chris met the budding gardeners on the Three Counties showground and they will now prepare their designs over the coming months ready for the event in May.

Ken Nottage, Three Counties chief executive, said: “We are deeply passionate about engaging the next generation of gardeners in the amazing world of horticulture. RHS Malvern Spring Festival’s school gardens challenge is a great introduction and allows children to see their designs stand on the same stage as the country’s finest RHS medal winning designers. We never cease to be amazed by the creativity and imagination school children bring to the school gardens challenge. Their designs are a real highlight of the show and always receive rave reviews from our visitors. We can’t wait to see what 2017 will bring and have no doubt the designs will be just as glorious.”

RHS Malvern Spring Festival is one of the only RHS Shows in the UK to have a collection of show gardens designed and built entirely by young people.

Next year sees more than 12 schools and education groups from across the three counties taking part. Each group will create gardens on the all-new theme of "space". The 2017 theme celebrates the 350th anniversary of Isaac Newton’s groundbreaking discovery of gravity, alongside the 60th anniversary of the launch of the world’s first satellite, Sputnik.

Chris Collins enters his third year as school gardens champion. He said: “RHS Malvern Spring Festival is really paving the way for introducing gardening into the curriculum and the school gardens challenge is a fantastic way to take education outside of the classroom. I can’t wait to be involved for another year and see the variety of designs come to life.”

Building of the school show gardens will commence at the end of April and take about a week to complete. RHS experts will then judge the gardens on Wednesday, May 10, ahead of the show opening to the public the following day. Following record numbers in 2016, more than 100,000 people are expected to descend on the Three Counties Showground for next year’s event, which runs from May 11-14.