Bun-Sgoil Stafainn

Winner: 2019 Best Garden, One Planet Picnic Theme

This Wetland of Wonder garden is inspired by the Stenscholl Common Grazing wetland beside the school. A raised bed to represent the Trotternish hills hosts a potager garden. Below are the heathers and grasses of the common grazing, lochans and a reed bed and wetland wildlife.

Pupils had had an excellent start to their Pocket Garden this year with wonderful weather for planting seeds and getting them growing in the school's polytunnel.  The new shape was an interesting challenge especially since their teacher asked them to make an actual size plan of it using cardboard to get an idea of how much space they had for planting.  Pupils constructed the actual raised beds with their headteacher’s husband in the middle of May. 



How high will it be?

In order to learn more about local plants and wildlife to decide what to plant in their Pocket Garden, pupils took a walk through a local wetland area spotting different wild plants and little creatures. They found bog cotton, and had a minibeast hunt in the peat. Unfortunately the day they chose for their walk was cold and they got caught in several hail showers, but their plants were safe in the school polytunnel!

The garden is called Wetland of Wonder, and it is wonderful: from the reed beds that filter and clean water, and the carbon locked up in the peat to the grasses of the common grazing beside the school. A potager garden helps resolve the problem of growing vegetables in wet and soggy ground. Pupils have learned a great deal about the challenges of growing in a wet, windy and exposed place.  Here is the original design sent in by pupils in P5-7.

The built garden is layered with plants and mosses and is built to model a well loved wetland near the school full of nesting birds like Curlew, Corncrake and Skylark.  At the top of the garden is a potage garden where flowers and vegetables are grown together.

At the bottom of the garden is a reed bed to filter water as it flows out to lochs and lochans.  There is a Willow tree, which loves the wet soil and provides an early pollen source, and an Alder tree which puts nitrogen into the soil.  The bottom raised bed is also full of mosses which thrive in a wet habitat.

If you look closely, you can see fimo clay bees and dragonflies made by a P5 pupil hidden among the moss - tha e iongantach!

Fimo clay bee and (living) fly

Garden story in raindrops


This Pocket Garden is a Wetland or Fresh Water Margin Garden.  These designs are inspired by the flowing water of a torrential mountain burn, the still waters of our lochs and lochans or Scotland's wetlands where the ground holds the water like a sponge in bogs, fens, marshes and wetland meadows.  Wetlands help to filter and clean our fresh water, reduce flooding and store huge amounts of carbon as well as supporting wildlife. For wetland wisdom look herehere and here.

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