Essex Can Do gardening project: Part Five
The National Garden Scheme project at Market Field School in Essex officially opened on 22 July much to the delight of our Can Doers!
There is a Pet Therapy Corner with two guinea pigs, Sensory Play, Vegetable Patch, Outdoor Classroom and Woodland Zen Area.
32 pupils took part in gardening taster sessions with Jill Crooks, the project gardener, and were each awarded a Certificate of Achievement. Jill joined the project in May to offer her horticultural expertise and to facilitate gardening sessions with pupils.
A further 40 pupils across three classes also took part in Leonard Cheshire’s volunteering programme, Can Do, and achieved a City & Guilds endorsed certificate.
Three pupils were chosen as Super Stars of the project each receiving ‘The Anti-Boredom Book of Brilliant Outdoor Things to Do’, and the Keenest Gardener also received a pretty bumble bee necklace.
Throughout the project pupils learnt to plant herbs, vegetables and flowers, and enjoyed a visit from Mark Lane, Ambassador for Leonard Cheshire and BBC gardener. Anglian Water also held a ‘Gardening for the Future’ workshop with pupils making plant pots from recycled newspaper.
Pupils also took part in The Big Sunflower Project which aims to raise awareness of rare neuromuscular conditions known as centronuclear and myotubular myopathy by asking participants to grow sunflowers.
There are three large vegetable trugs and a small trug for growing vegetables. There are two potting tables, a cold frame, a seedling stand and several planters for strawberries and beans. There is a bay tree, apple tree and multi-stem fig tree. There are also herb planters and educational signs to help pupils identify the different herbs and to learn about their uses.
There are Deeper Thinking signs for those who like a more challenging puzzle and pet-themed puzzle signs for those who love the Pet Therapy Corner.
There are bamboo bug hotels made by pupils hidden in the flower beds and two bigger bug hotels available (breakfast not included). There are also sun catchers, wind chimes and giant butterflies flying across one wall, a rustic blue tit clock and small fluttering butterflies staked amongst the plants. The beautiful mirrored wall mosaics suitable for outdoor use were made by pupils.
Each planter has a bright yellow water tank buried beneath the soil. It holds 24 litres of water and it is filled by the spout that protrudes above the soil. There is a float in the spout that will rise to the top when the tank is adequately filled. Beneath the soil, the water tank works by osmosis. Fine soil soaks up the water and it spreads throughout the rest of the planter as the roots soak up the water.
The wall mural depicting the British countryside through the four seasons was painted by Keith Hollingsworth from Murals by Wallworx. The intention was to create a mural that was both beautiful and educational.
I also wrote a Garden Quiz for pupils and teachers alike so the garden is even more educational, interactive and engaging. And just for fun, there are fairy gardens and doors, and ten resin snails hidden throughout the garden for pupils find. I wonder how many they’ve found so far…