Our Flower Bee Garden
The children of Auchterhouse Nursery have taken inspiration from ‘Bee: Nature’s Tiny Miracle’ to create their Pocket Garden. The children have been instrumental in designing and creating the garden, as well as developing a mini community of creatures within it.
We began our pocket garden journey with a beautifully illustrated story, ‘Bee: Nature’s Tiny Miracle’ by Patricia Hegerty and Britta Teckentrup. The colours that the bee visited as it travelled inspired the children in their choices for what we wanted to plant. We met worms, beetles, slugs, snails and caterpillars as we prepared the bed with compost from the community garden, topsoil from a parent and carbon capture volcanic rock from a local university lecturer before planting plants we had grown from seed (nasturtiums) and cuttings with the help of a local gardener. This process helped develop our awareness of what we needed in our garden and the storybook, ‘Superworm’ by Julia Donaldson, cemented the ‘community’ insects have and need. The idea of all the animals working together generated the understanding that they all need to live together and even chat to one another. This inspired us to make insects, from repurposed tin cans and sweet wrappers to communicate to and attract them to our spot, as the bee does in the story.
We have spent time watching bees and noticing the differences. We have a visual guide, from Friends of the Earth displayed in the nursery to help with the identification of the breeds, enabling the children to ask questions and reflect on what they have seen.
We have mint, rosemary, marjoram, chives, nasturtiums, and apples (eventually) to eat. The chives have been named the ‘magic flower’ (from Superworm) as the buds have yet to open and there has been lots of discussion about what shape and colour will emerge. The children have been shown how to and supported to rub the leaves to stimulate the aromas. Green labels were placed beside plant which are tactile and edible to support all children to explore the garden independently.
We repurposed pallets that were damaged to build the garden. Suggestions have already been made to build other shapes to plant more. The design had also included separate sections for individual planting areas. However, the children were observed making connections with the plants prior to planting and have kept their caretaker role with watering them.
Our planting changed during construction, for example, lavender rather than thyme which would provide more obvious sensory support for the children but still attract pollinators. The plan to add a seasonal mixture of planting (hellebore and lungwort) to sustain the children's interest in planting throughout the year. The planting will also support the seasons and what plants need to grow.
We could not have created our pocket garden without the help of:
Our headteacher’s Dad drew a technical drawing of our planter with very helpful measurements and listing the materials we would need.
Dr Ehsan Jorat – Geotechnical Engineer and Soil Carbon Expert at Abertay University. He gave us volcanic rock dust to capture carbon following our experiments with carbon dioxide and an emerging understanding about gases in our atmosphere.
The community garden enabled us to fill our planter with compost.
EB’s Dad delivered topsoil for our planter.
Mrs Baird, a member of the local community, helped us plant and grow our plants in her poly tunnel. She also donated from her garden.
Creating the garden - from design to reality