Dyce Academy

This Pop Up Garden was designed by pupils from the Eco-Committee at Dyce Academy and then was built by teacher Mrs Reed. It incorporates both of our Pop Up Garden themes this year: 2020 Year of Coasts and Waters, and Keep Scotland Beautiful's 20th Birthday. 

Dyce Academy shares a significant birthday with Keep Scotland Beautiful - in 2020 Dyce Academy is 40 years old.   The garden's design reflects the link between Dyce Academy, the River Don and the work the Eco Group have done to create biodiversity now and for the future. 

Dyce Academy's Eco-Committee built a Pop Up Garden as a group.  Ordinarily this would be an fun project to do together while at school but because of restrictions to control Coronavirus, pupils had to each grow their own small part of the garden at home for their teacher to collect and combine into a garden at the school.  

Teacher Mrs Reed shared photographs of materials with pupils that she had that could be used in their design.  Using the Design Brief principles, the 2020 Themes, the school's location and its 40th celebrations, and the plans that the Eco Group had been working on with the local community to improve the grounds for biodiversity, they pulled together a rough Design Brief. 

The group decided to create a garden which shows the location of the school in relation to the River Don and the green area at the back of the school which links to the  housing schemes which are the catchment area of the pupils. The Dyce Gardeners Club - Dyce in - Bloom have worked to create greater biodiversity along the riverside and the green area by planting hedgerows, trees and having wild grass/flower areas. The Eco Group planted a hedgerow in the school grounds to link these two areas and help create a wildlife corridor.

The idea is that the planting can then be used at the school and distributed in the local area.

During lockdown teachers from the school who support the pupils in the Eco Group took advantage of the CPD courses offered by Keep Scotland Beautiful.  As well as training for teachers, they participated in courses for One Planet Picnic and Pop-up Pocket Garden.  These complimented each other, were initiatives where the Eco Group could still work together remotely still involve the whole school and community.

Using Google Classrooms and Google Meets to communicate, the group was able to share thoughts, ideas and plans and record progress.

Pupils submitted sketches and plans. There were some fantastic ideas which they were encouraged to do at home. Most ideas tended to reflect early Spring and the pupils needed to imagine what would be around at the end of June which would have been easier had everyone been in school. 

The teachers who support the Eco Group pupils communicated regularly by using posts on Google Classroom, organising Google Meets and using a Google Quiz to collate final opinions.  

All seeds were free from M&S initiative, collected from Mrs Reed's garden or from bird food.  Old broken containers, novelty planters, organic compost from the garden, seedlings, and saplings were again found in Mrs Reed's garden and reused.  All twigs and stones, a cement slab, and logs were also from Mrs Reed's garden. Left over outdoor paint was used for the heron. (Chicken)

Containers for starting of seeds were all from recycled containers and pupils were encouraged to mirror the same planting and materials at home including some experiments.

The garden was arranged in tiers to reflect the geography of the landscape and the garden was almost a map in the way it was presented. All of the indigenous sapling and hedgerow plant planting, snakes from the river (crocodile) and the community veg and fruit garden all the way up to the green at the back of the school.

The school is a stark brutalist style building and the pupils were keen to use an almost bland piece of broken cement slab to show this.

The presentation of the garden was deliberately set up next to the corner of Mrs Reed's house to reflect the housing schemes behind the school. This location is about ¼-1/2 a mile from the school and river (this was also why the seedlings and saplings found in her garden were suitable to use).

It was decided to use a repeat not just of the hedgerow but by using 3 watering cans with nasturtiums to show the flow of water from the top of the hill all the way down into the river.

The pupils were also keen to have a mini beast shelter of twigs, a log and old snail shells. This was added to the river hedgerow. Many of the pupils wanted some form of reflection from the river so used wild strawberries in the hedgerows and crop strawberries in the community garden.

We don’t have any local crocodiles! but it was a fun, novel way to communicate the river and the blue forget-me-nots  the water. An old chicken planter was painted to communicate the local heronry hidden in the reeds and trees.

The grass which reflects the school playpark was cut into the figure 40 to reflect the schools birthday.  The Keep Scotland Beautiful logo was the inspiration for the final piece of planting using appropriate coloured, recycled planters and more materials and plants found at the riverside.   

The garden is now settling in and was at its peak of fruiting and flowering about 2 weeks after the submission date.  When pupils are able to return to school the hope is that they they will be able to transfer all planting to the school grounds.   

KSB logo made from plant pots


Heron the chicken planter

Plans for how to bring everyone's plants together into one Pop Up Garden

This Pop Up Garden is a Coast and Water Garden.  Water is part of our working and industrial heritage from the fishing fleet to the canal transport network, aquaducts, bridges, and the power generated by water mills and modern hydro-electric systems.  Water links the natural world to the heart of our cities.

This Pop Up Garden is a 20th Birthday GardenIn 2020 we celebrated 20 years of working under the name Keep Scotland Beautiful to help people change the way they think about the environment and encourage them to take action to improve and protect it.  

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