TEAM-CG: The Ellon Academy Memorial Community Garden
Our garden combines well known stories with characters from our pupil's imaginations. The garden includes lots of sensory stimulation. Our marble run adds sound, whilst well known characters wander past colourful flowers and painted stones. Look out for Mr Tall and Mrs Small, representing death & decay and life & growth that surround us in nature.
The Gruffalo out for a walk
New characters for the story
Ingenious marble run
We started with the Gruffalo story because it is a favourite of a senior pupil who has met the author. We therefore created a Gruffalo and mouse character. The Gruffalo is painted onto slate and the mouse is made from clay. We researched the author more, discovering that she also wrote “What the Ladybird heard”. This got us thinking about sounds in the garden and other creatures. We painted stones to be ladybirds and made owls out of wood and sticks. The smaller owl sits on a tree trunk like it is in a nest, the larger one is mounted on a wire, so it moves in the breeze to look alive.
One pupil designed “Mr Tall” who represents death and decay (a natural process in the garden and something which makes it wildlife friendly). Another designed “Mrs Small” who is made of willow and represents life and growth. Finally, we have a superhero in our garden – “Flash” – a favourite character of another senior pupil. This was made from an old drinks bottle. Mr Tall is made of sticks, wire, an old football, plant pots for his neck and hat and an old shawl for his cloak.
We made a marble “sound-run” using lots of different materials to see what sounds they made. We used slate, plastic, wood, metal, cardboard and glass. They were all things from the shed or around the garden. The glass jar at the end is full of water and sits in a tray of water which will attract insects. When not in use, we put a stick in the jar, so insects do not drown! We also drilled holes in a piece of wood in the shape of a smiling face, to give insects a place to hide. We have put some sticks, canes and straw into the back of the pallet wall for a mini bug-hotel and birds can find the straw for bedding material. We used old pallet wood to build the central path and lined it with gravel left over from our garden path-building. We topped it with shiny pebbles from our classroom - they were unused in our crafting box. We laid used compost bags onto the flat pallet before positioning our plants.
Plants in our garden include small trees – to represent the woodland walk for the Gruffalo story. We have Scots pine, hawthorn and beech, all of which give shelter and habitat. Foxgloves, lupins and hardy geranium are good flowers to attract insects. Honesty flowers are irresistible to the orange-tip butterfly and our flowers are grown from seed collected from Down House in Kent, where Charles Darwin lived for over 40 years! We have nasturtiums and runner beans growing up the back wall – they will have flowers for insects and produce edible crops. We also have French marigolds for cheerful colour and edible too. As Gruffalo and mouse walk, they might also smell the Moroccan mint and chives – both of which would add flavour to many dishes!
To keep the plants healthy we gave them a feed and watered them well before mulching the top of the pots with wood-chip. This made it look more like a forest floor and will help to prevent weeds. We placed ladybird stones all around the garden.
After the competition, we will plant the edible plants into our garden. The trees and flowers will go into our plant sale but if they do not sell, we shall plant them out too. We will keep the characters safe in the shed through the winter months, then create a story trail in future for visitors to find in spring and summer!
We have really enjoyed building all the elements of the garden and turning our design into reality. We feel proud of it and hope you love it too.
The Gruffalo and mouse
Creating the garden - from design to reality
Garden Video - marble run in action