Kilchoan Primary School 1st Entry

Kilchoan The Gruffalo

When asked back in February for a story to build a pocket garden, Kilchoan Primary School were inspired by the much-loved Gruffalo story because of all the different habitats for the wildlife described through the book.

Fox, snake, owl and mouse

Birdbox made by the children

Where are you meeting him? Here by this lake. 

The mouse lives in woodland. The children imagined rhubarb and potato plants growing tall above the animals and thought it was a perfect representation of trees. The snake lives in a wood pile house. The children instantly thought of a bug hotel under the structure. Foraged dead wood holds the soil in place, perfect for local minibeasts to live. There is a deep worm filled based and containers built into the community-built structure. The snake lives next to the lake and the children were keen for a pond for the local newts and frogs that live on school grounds. The pond is home to native plants found in a local burn and carefully transplanted. The owl in the trees needed a hand-built bird box as a home and tree branches to perch on. The Gruffalo walks down a path made from local sand through beetroot, geraniums, lemon balm, strawberries, chives and wildflowers. These are edible for people and great for insects. The mouse saw a nut in the story. The children made seed cakes for the birds and placed one as the nut on the tree. Instantly birds landed on the branches and started to feed on the nut. A wonderful sight to see and caused much excitement with the children that the finished garden was truly a great home for nature. 

The children wanted to make garden ornaments of each of the animals in the story. They took time to research how to make air dry clay suitable for the outdoors and are so proud of their results. 

Plant donations from local gardens and the community garden were gratefully received. Some plants were grown from seed in the school potting shed, cold frames and polytunnel. The children sourced used milk bottles and transformed them into planters. Donations of wood, pallets and nails enabled the bird boxes and structure to be made.   

Building the garden was an endurance in the final two weeks as heavy rain showers threatened to destroy the delicate transferred plants. Midges came out and made planting a chore at times but the children were superstars and braved both as they were so excited to complete the garden.   

Once the competition has ended the garden will be repositioned and made into a permanent bug hotel and wildflower bed. The rhubarb will be harvested and made into crumble for the children to enjoy at school and the potatoes and beetroot harvested when ready and served on the menu for school lunch. The strawberries probably won’t make the plate and eaten when ripe by the children. The bird box will be repositioned in a tall tree and will hopefully be a fantastic home for a nesting bird next year.   

The children are amazed at how well the garden has turned out and that the design they initially made is realised.

Little brown mouse

A fox saw the mouse

An owl saw the mouse

Garden Design

From design to reality

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