Kilchoan Primary School 2nd Entry
Kilchoan Mr MacGregor
Kilchoan Primary School is the most westerly school on the British mainland with 10 children on roll. We are very fortunate to have a polytunnel, cold frames and potting shed to use. The children were keen to find a story that would allow them to grow vegetables in their pocket garden. The children have fond memories of the Peter Rabbit stories from when they were younger. They remembered Mr MacGregor had an allotment and wanted to try to recreate it in West Scotland.
Potatoes getting going
The children were mindful that Beatrix Potter took inspiration from a wide range of native animals and wanted to create a habitat fit for them to live in. Therefore, the garden was designed to be divided into two parts. The right-hand side is a structured garden with raised beds and made to look like an allotment. Three types of cabbage, onions, radish, beetroot, broad beans and lettuce have their own space in the garden. The initial design used lollypop sticks constructed into a fence. This was built but could not withstand the Scottish weather and therefore a Plan B was implemented and used wood was nailed together and made into the raised beds. The left-hand side is where small animals would live and took inspiration from natural woodland. The pond (Jeremy Fisher’s home) was filled with locally sourced plants found in a burn. Wildflowers along with flowering bluebells and foxglove will encourage pollenating insects. These were planted in an unstructured way to emulate nature.
The potato planters are tyres and were repurposed to show that anything can be made into a planter and show the benefits of reusing a waste product. The children were keen to keep these despite the chance they could leak chemicals. Instead they lined underneath and plan on moving them after the photos and replanting the potatoes into a more suitable container. The tyres will then be made into mini board game tables for playtime fun.
A pallet, secured to the fence was painted blue to show the sky. Plant pots were made from painted used milk bottle containers and proved a great success to plant herbs and strawberries. The children were keen to include quotes from the story and took time to choose the best two inspirational ones.
The hand made bird box secured on top of the pallet is a home for birds wanting to escape Old Brown the owl. The garden is surrounded by hand painted stones showing the best loved characters from Beatrix Potter stories.
Plant donations from local gardens, the community garden were gratefully received. Plants were grown from seed in the school potting shed, cold frames and polytunnel. The children sourced used milk bottles and transformed them into planters. Donations of wood, pallets, tyres and nails enabled the bird boxes and structure to be made.
Building the garden was a steep learning curve. Although we planted lots of seeds and they started to grow well, unseasonably hot weather one weekend burnt the seedlings in the school polytunnel. Therefore, some of the plants are not as established as we were hoping. Thanks to the generosity of the community garden and local community, replacement seedling were donated and thrived in our care.
The last two weeks before entries were in, the weather was not on our side. Heavy rain showers combined with local midges made planting outside a gauntlet. The children were superstars and braved both as they were so inspired to complete the garden.
Once the competition has ended the vegetables will be harvested when ready and used in the school kitchen. The beds can then be scattered with wildflowers and remain in situ for years to come. The bird box will be repositioned in a local tree and hopefully next year will be home to a nest of birds.
Tasty food for Peter Rabbit
Even more characters
Old Brown's bird box
From design to reality