IT’S not just flowers and vegetables they are growing in this year’s winning Examiner Community Garden.

At Christ Church Woodhouse School, in Deighton, the children are also nurturing and cultivating friendships and community links.

And it is all with the help of school caretaker Melvin Wade.

Melvin – who has been looking after the school and grounds off Deighton Road for nine years – said they are delighted to win best Community Garden.

Armitage’s Garden Centres – which sponsor the Examiner Garden of the Year awards – this year created the new category with a £500 prize.

Melvin said: “The children are over the moon that we have won and we are really proud.

“We’re going to use the money to buy new tools and winter vegetables.

“It will also be really good to get some help and expertise from Armitage’s.

“The children think I’m the fountain of all knowledge when it comes to gardening, but they don’t realise that a lot of it has come from Google.”

Melvin and the group built the garden on the site of the old school boiler-house.

It took 450 tons of hard core, 20 tons of crushed stones, and 40 tons of top soil to bring the sloping plot up to the same level as the school playground.

Melvin secured a £12,000 grant from Cummins Turbo Technologies and £500 from Yorkshire Water to do the work.

And since last September the team have made a lot of progress.

Melvin, whose wife Sue is a keen gardener and helps him with the designing, said: “Everything is organic and we’ve got lots of unusual crops like celeriac and lots of different varieties of vegetables and fruits.

“The potatoes, peas and onions are doing marvellously this year. We’ve also got pear, plum, apple and cherry trees and rhubarb but the runner beans haven’t done very well this year.”

Melvin says he hopes the garden will go from strength to strength.

He said: “The children have been brilliant and so have the parents and teachers. At 8.10am this morning there were a group of three out there doing the weeding before school started.

“We hope it will be even better next year.”