Linnvale Primary School

Sirens' Garden

This garden tells the classic story of the Sirens. The tale of the Sirens features in Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey. The Sirens sang mesmerising songs and lured sailors to their death and this story was a favourite of the group who designed this garden.

Sirens in progress

Sirens in their new home

Sail to me they sang

The pupils carried out extensive research to ensure that their selection of plants had a dual purpose of being edible and wildlife friendly as well as being suitable and ready in time. We have grown Forget-Me Nots and Aquilegia for the bees and pollinators and also we included Lithodora too. There is a small, shallow ‘pond’ as well as a shelter for hedgehogs or small mammals.

Mixed salad leaves have been added to the original design as some of the original choices have proved difficult to grow in time. There are violas for colour and their flowers can be used as a
salad garnish. Angela Smith, one of the garden mentors, was kind enough to bring us bronze fennel, purple violas, love in a mist (nigella), cornflowers, coriander, chives, camomile and
forget-me-nots. We also have parsley and thyme growing as well as marigolds.

We had planned to include some companion growing by planting marigolds alongside the carrots but we had to abandon using carrots as they required being transplanted. As soon as we planted the Lithodora, a bee appeared and moved from flower to flower. This felt like a huge triumph! We even got a photo of our first bee!

Eco friendly clay was used to make the Sirens-while one group of children worked on them, another group made the Sirens’s cave using an old plant pot and some pebbles, as well as being
ornamental, the cave is also there as a shelter for mice or even our visiting hedgehog. We used two rotting stumps to decorate the pallet and to be a haven for woodlice, beetles etc. We reused two pallets to make the frame of the pallet and we raided the janitor’s box of screws, hinges etc. to help with the construction of the frame. The pallets were lined with compost bags and we opened them up flat and pierced them with drainage holes. We reused plant pots and a trough which had been donated to the Eco Committee when a member of our school community was clearing their shed out. The paint was the leftover and donated from one of the teachers and the compost was a mixture of left over peat free compost and compost which the council had delivered from their composting programme. All pots and the trough have been screwed down.

A small independent jewellery company, Ayedo, was kind enough to donate beads, pearls and charms which the pupils used on the ‘cave’ and to make wings for the sirens. We had the help of
an art specialist, Janie McIntyre, to help the children paint Greek style vases and urns which they were keen to add to their garden to emphasise the Ancient Greek theme. We have had some plant donations from families and staff who took cuttings from their gardens and when we heard we had been selected we contacted Angela Smith of the RHS for help and she was kind enough to bring us a great selection of plants. Lithodora was donated to us as it was surplus to requirements from a project.

At the end of this project, we will replant the perennials in the school grounds; we have a large new garden so we will use plants from this project to fill it out. The violas and marigolds will be
planted into big pots and the children can choose who they should be given to. We have some staff members retiring this year so they would make a lovely gift.

What we have learned…

  • The importance of ventilating our seedlings as some were left under cover during the Easter break and when we returned they had died from becoming mouldy.
  • Carrots and root veg do not like to be moved once they have germinated.
  • Despite sowing and growing our plants on a south facing windowsill, most have yet to flower.
  • Not to be disheartened when plants take longer than expected to germinate. E.g. Platycodon grandiflorus
  • Not to let the lack of DIY skills put us off similar projects in future!

Sea coloured planting

Garden in bloom

Our first bee!

Garden Design

Creating the garden - from design to reality

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