Carolside Primary School

Zoe’s Bee Garden

Zoe chose this story because she wanted to create a garden, which was sustainable, eco-friendly and would attract bees and other insects thus supporting bio diversity.

Reclaimed growing containers

Teapot planter

Colourful characters

The story behind Zoe’s Bee Garden…

One say Zoe came home from school really quite distraught about what she had learned in class that day. Her mummy asked her what was wrong. Zoe explained that a lovely lady had come in to school to teach them all about bees and how they were becoming an endangered species and how important bees are for pollinating plants and also for their yummy honey.

The next morning Zoe awoke very early as she was still so worried about the bees. What could she do? She decided she wanted to grow some plants that the bees would like and somewhere for them to live. She thought about where to put the plants and the home for the bees. She knew her mummy and daddy would never agree to a bee hive in the garden – actually she didn’t know if she was brave enough to have one! They had a good sized garden but everywhere had a use. She thought about the grass area but her brother, Gregor, and she liked to play there with balls and build dens. So where could she put them? She thought about the patio but realised they had dinner outside in the summer and didn’t want lots of bees beside them when they were eating. Gregor doesn’t like bees!

Zoe had set her heart on doing something good for the bees. By now her mummy was awake so she went to talk to her about it. Mummy suggested a small bit of ground at the side of the house. Zoe was a bit upset thinking it wasn’t very big but decided it was better than nothing. After school that day Zoe and her mummy researched what plants bees liked and what habitat they prefer. Zoe soon realised that they could make her garden for all wildlife. She loves all animals. She made a list of all things she wanted to include:
• Plants
• Bee hotel
• Bug house
• Somewhere for insects that like the damp
• Water for birds
• Hidey holes for wildlife to live in

Zoe’s mummy decided the space available was really quite small so could utilise the space by staggering the height. They looked around for inspiration and found an old set of drawers with one leg missing ready to go to the dump. Zoe thought it would look good with plants in the open drawers. Daddy had some lovely coloured paints leftover from last year so they soon set about making the drawers look fantastic.

Now they were on the lookout for all the other things to make Zoe’s garden. Mummy put a request on a local Facebook page for things people no more use for. Zoe and mummy also visited Granny who had lots of things in her shed. Very quickly Zoe’s garden looked really good and she now loves looking after it. Anytime something is thrown out she tries to see how she could add it to her garden.

Space for mini beasts

Woodlice take up residence

Visiting ladybird

One of the central objectives of Zoe’s garden was for it to be wildlife friendly. Zoe has done this in a number of ways such as including a bee hotel, bug house, choosing and planting flowers such as Heathers, Lavender, Primula, Lungwort and Fuchsia to inject colour and attract wildlife. Careful consideration was given to the materials used to construct the garden structure to ensure it encouraged biodiversity. When creating the ‘Bee Hotel’ Zoe gave careful consideration to the materials used. She made use of bee nesting tubes, designed for solitary bees giving them the ideal space to lay eggs.

Within Zoe’s garden there are a number of edible parts including; carrots, lettuce, peas, mint, chamomile, oregano, thyme and strawberries. The aim would be that as these plants, herbs, fruit and vegetables flourish within Zoe’s garden they could be used by pupils across the school for a number of projects including food handling and recipe planning.

The main focus for Zoe, in bringing her pocket garden design to life, was upcycling and recycling items which would become the component parts of her garden. This has included pallets, a tyre, bits of pipe, bamboo canes, felt for bug house roof, the chest of drawers, broken plant pot, mugs, jug, tea pot and a ceramic welly.

Zoe has thoroughly enjoyed the whole process of creating her garden from the initial design, the story behind her deign, the gathering of materials, the planting of seeds to the final assembly of all the component parts of her garden. She has learned more about plant varieties including those, which are edible, and those, which are ideal to encourage biodiversity. Zoe has further developed her team working skills during this process, learning to work with others including classmates and volunteers to help to bring her design to life. Zoe has also learned the importance of having a positive attitude and being resilient even when things don’t go according to plan. Following the collection of all the material required to build Zoe’s garden she painted, assembled, planted, and watered. In these initial weeks, Zoe’s garden flourished until one windy day the whole garden blew over. Everyone was devastated, all the hard work gone, mugs and teapots smashed, all the plants uprooted! Zoe and her team remained positive throughout, she gathered up what could be salvaged and after another shout out for donations via social media got more mugs and teapots etc… With the help of a discount from a local garden centre and a donation form the school PTA, Zoe and her team got back on track. Zoe learned that hard work and perseverance are the key to success!

Zoe has received a fantastic level of support throughout this project from the whole school community and beyond.  She worked with her classmates to plant seeds and grow and nurture these until there were of a suitable size to add to her garden. The mentors offered from Keep Scotland beautiful provided valuable information and advice regarding Zoe’s design and the types of plants suitable for her design idea. She put out a plea on social media for all the things she would need, stating that we were really looking to save things from going to landfill, people were so generous and in no time she had everything she needed. Zoe’s mum is a talented and eager crocheter. As a result, she crocheted a mandala made from leftover yarn to continue the theme of re-using to hang from the wall behind Zoe’s garden.

The plans for Zoe’s garden following the competition are to nurture its growth and development within the school Secret Garden. This is a space of the school which is quiet and secluded and often visited by children who benefit from some quiet time out with the classroom setting. Zoe would love to develop and extend her garden even further into a sensory garden which can be enjoyed by all. The hope would be that pupils, and in particular those who benefit from a quiet space within the school community can visit the garden, look around you, smell the air, touch the materials and plants and listen to the sounds in the garden. Throughout the garden’s creation consideration was given to the type of heather to promote the sense of touch, the scent of the lavender and bright and inviting colours.

It is also hoped that the children will enjoy their time in the garden and that the produce from Zoe’s garden can be used by classes across the school to develop food handling skills and healthy recipe planning.

Zoe is very grateful for all the help and support she has received with this project. In particular she would like to thank the following individuals who all supported through contributions of resources: Tracy and Joe McDaid, Sharon Macintosh, Louise Carroll, Amy Henson, Elaine Addington, Jodie Davies, Pat Winter, Lorna Murray, Carolside Primary PTA and Caulders Garden Centre Newton Mearns.

Garden Design

Creating the garden - from design to reality

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