Banchory Academy

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch

Our garden tells the story of the Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch by Ronda and David Armitage. It is a story about a Lighthouse keeper who goes by boat to work in a lighthouse. Everyday Mr Grinling tucks into a delicious lunch made by his wife, Mrs Grinling. But Mr Grinling isn’t the only one who enjoys the taste of her food! Can Mrs Grinling think of a way to stop the greedy seagulls from stealing Mr Grinlings lunch?

Clay-pot lighthouse

Lunch on its way

Lollypop stick cabin

We chose this story because it was voted by pupils as their favourite childhood story. It is fun and lends itself to growing food and encouraging nature and the implications of balancing both.

The pupils first constructed the garden frame using old pallets, which were then painted, lined, and filled with soil. The planter was made at double depth to maximise plant growth. To incorporate the story into the garden, pupils also made a variety of props which included a lighthouse keeper scarecrow, the clay-pot lighthouse, the clay mosaic bird baths, the lollypop stick cabin, the hessian bag potato planter and the recycled milk carton seagulls, the shell bucket pond and a veg-scraps garden. The pallet planter has been decorated with donated outdoor paint, driftwood, shells and pebbles and fish netting collected from the beach.

Our garden has a guttering planter filled with ‘Bee happy’ wildflowers to attract bees, butterflies, and insects. The bucket pond has tadpoles collected from local puddles. Pupils have made a bug hotel, bird seed balls and mosaic bird baths filled with shells to encourage bees to drink. There is a woven bird house and fertiliser made from worm tea in our wormery.

We have a huge variety of edible plants in this garden. They are beetroot, carrots, beans, chard, courgettes, lettuce, strawberry, potatoes, onions, chilli, garlic, spring onions, celery, red callaloo spinach, thyme, coriander and mint. Marigolds were planted as an eco-friendly pest control, to lure pests away from veggies and to attract insects to predate pests.

To make the garden we reused wooden pallets, clay pots, willow bean supports, a charity shop basket, recycled milk bottles, donated paint scraps, an old bucket, reclaimed netting and rope, paper planters, bottle planters for garlic, mosaic terracotta saucers.

The pupils have learned to work as a team, to persevere, to plan, to put planning in action, to use power tools, to plant in a variety of ways: from seeds, plug plants, from roots and shoots. Planting from seeds and pricking out and thinning seeds has taught pupils the delicate nature of growth. They learned aftercare of plants, companion planting and aftercare of the garden. They have taken responsibility for watering plants on a rota basis. They have developed creative and problem-solving skills when making the planter, the scarecrow and designing the zipwire. They have learned the importance of caring for nature and wildlife and why encouraging pollinators is important.

Throughout the project we have forged links with Woodend Barn and their RGU Art School project. We have visited the local garden centre and had a tour and talk from the specialists there. We also visited the Woodend Barn allotments to give us ideas. We have worked with the Banchory Academy Art and Technology department to ask for advice and learn new skills in using tool and specialist equipment. One Seed Forward donated potatoes and seeds and gave us a talk on potato planting. We had a visit from the Deeside willow farm to help us create willow bean supports.

We will continue to maintain the garden to the point of harvest for edible plants, thinning out seedlings where necessary. Our Therapeutic Horticulture group will oversee maintaining it and taking it forward. We will be inviting Banchory Gardening Club, One Seed Forward and the local garden centre to a viewing/garden party.

We have really enjoyed this project and have realised that we can produce plants to a deadline from seeds. It has stimulated pupils interest in appreciating all the planning that goes into the different elements of planning and planting up a garden. It has given us a focus for producing something within a theme and incorporating technology, art and design into horticultural projects.

Garden design

Creating the garden - from design to reality

Garden Video

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