Grove Academy

Special Commendation 2019

'This 'Story Boat' garden reminds us of our coastal industry heritage, and looks ahead to ways we can take care of our coastal and marine wildlife. On board this SS Alba you'll be transported to the sea among plants of the machair. Lift the sails for a wider seascape.

Lots of facts about the machair and environmental issues affecting it.

This Pocket Garden was designed by an S5 pupil named Natanya, who tells us the story of her design in her own words:  "My design combines my favourite memories by the coast and the beauty of the Machair inspired this year’s design themes.  I’ve called it Story Boat”.

I was so excited to discover how Scotland was home to one of the rarest habitats on the planet – coastal machair - and the about the unique species found there.  I was also saddened to hear how it is vulnerable to climate change. Unbelievably, I hadn’t even heard of the Machair until entering the competition, which got me wondering: “How many people are aware of this precious ecosystem?”

I created “Story Boat” to raise awareness of the Machair and the Scottish seas, issues surrounding them, and how we can all help preserve them.

This year, one of our challenges was cutting the wood into shape and figuring out how to piece it all together. Thankfully one of our School’s Design & Technology teachers Ms McLaren assisted us in working out the framework and helping us cut out the necessary pieces. 

Another challenge was finding a time and place to paint the seascape onto the garden’s backboard. Ms Holligan kindly opened her back garden (and garage when it rained!) to Natalie, Ruth and I to paint it for an afternoon. We got a great amount of work done in that time thanks to good teamwork, and we’re really pleased with the way the seascape turned out.   We hope you like it too."

Painting the background


This Pocket Garden is a Coastal Garden. With an 18,000km long coastline and more than 790 islands, Scotland has lots of different types of habitat along its shores including the machair - a blend of coastal habitat, people and grazing livestock unique to Scotland and Northern Ireland. Coastal gardens can show the transitions between land and sea, fresh and salt water, calm or stormy seas. As well the machair, you can find sand dunes, mudflats, cliffs, saltmarsh and saline lagoon, each adapted to the challenges of coastal life and strong salty winds. Coastal garden inspiration here

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