|All about our garden
The Story of our Environment Project.
Our task....To change a barren quadrangle in the middle of the school into an area of beauty for the children.
Our work began after we received a grant from English Nature to improve the area and create a Nature Garden for the school.
Planning for this project involved all the junior classes, Green Class used Maths lessons to measure and draw the area to scale ready for their designs. Design and Technology lessons involved planning and designing the garden with their own ideas. Designs had to be practical, but with good, original ideas. Some 50 different designs from children were produced, these were taken away to our friend ...the Garden Design Specialist....taking as many ideas as possible from the children he produced the final blueprint for our Nature Garden.. The plan of the garden was set out into specific areas representing ideas from the children.
A Large Pond, Marshland Area, Rockery Area, Touch and Smell Area, Woodland Area, Herbaceous Border, Picnic Area, Climbing Plants for walls, Trees, Birdhouses.
To enable the project to get off the ground, we needed help from Parents and Staff. An appeal brought in some strong volunteers willing to give up time to our project. Another appeal to local Garden centres and Builders were also sent out.
Work started in earnest on the first day of Spring! Hard working parents and volunteers began with the heavy part....removing dozens of concrete flags to form the basic shape of the garden. As the area is enclosed, the flags had to be removed by carrying them through the building while negotiating steps in the process! To make matters worse, we realised that under these flags was not soil as expected, but sandstone and ballast. In fact there was no soil at all!
What could we do now?
An appeal by "The Bolton Evening News" for soil gave an excellent response, offers of free soil were abundant...and work began again.
Easter holidays gave us the opportunity to really get things moving. Parents, Volunteers and Children came into school during the holidays to dig out the Pond and prepare the beds ready for the soil to arrive, A large amount of sandstone and clay had to be removed from the site... a messy and difficult job which took along time to complete. A large skip was loaned to us free of charge for the week, making it easier to dispose of our rubbish. The weather was kind to us this week, once the beds were prepared, rubbish removed and manure added to give a base, we were ready for the soil...and we needed a lot of it! Later that week soil began to arrive. this had to be moved into the enclosed garden area in the same way that rubbish was taken out...through the building by wheelbarrow. By the end of the Easter Holidays most of the heavy work was completed. Our Dream garden was becoming a reality!
The next step was to establish specific areas in the garden. We stuck rigidly to the original plan because a lot of thought went into the aspects of each specific area. The rockery for instance requires sunshine for most of the day, while woodland and shrubs like a cooler area. The Pond and Marshland needs sunshine if it is to develop and sustain wildlife.
Another important part of planning was choosing suitable plants for each aspect of the garden. Some plants enjoy full sun while others thrive in shady areas. By the time we were ready for planting our appeal to local Garden Centres had bourn fruit! Offers of Plants, Trees, and other items were very generous.
Planting out became a most enjoyable activity for the children. Learning about sorting plants, naming plants, finding out about best growing conditions and looking after them, made Science come to life.
As our new garden began to flourish, wildlife was becoming an integral part of it. Goldfish and Sticklebacks were introduced into the pond. Oxygenating and Marginal pond plants help to create a natural balance in the pond. Frog Spawn was put into the pond and soon the water was alive with tadpoles! In Summer baby Frogs could be found just about anywhere int he garden. Buddlia plants were added to the garden to attract butterflies. Birdhouses, which were donated to the garden, were placed in strategic places to attract birds into the area. After children had finished planting out Summer bedding plants...well, you could only describe the colours in the garden as beautiful!
At last we have a centrepiece, an area of beauty that supports Nature and Wildlife. A place where children can learn to enjoy Nature!
It has been worth all the hard work!