Caledonian Primary School
Garden of Possibilities
Our ‘Garden of Possibilities’ celebrates the various outdoor areas we love and are lucky to have access to during our time at school. Some of us don’t always have the opportunity to play outside in our own communities as we can find social situations challenging and this can be misunderstood by others but accessing outdoor spaces as part of our learning is very important to us as we know it makes us feel good. During the planning stage of our design, we decided that our favourite outdoor spaces were the beach, woodlands, back garden and near a body of water (pond, loch, sea). During discussions about our favourite outdoor places, we asked our pupils how their favourite outdoor areas make them feel and the responses included calm, free, energised and creative. We used our favourite places combined with how we feel about them to influence what we wanted to include in our pocket garden design.
Back of the garden
Being wildlife friendly was an important aspect our pocket garden design and because of this we chose plants that were good for pollinators (some of these are still in the early stages) We were conscious of providing food for our native birds that often frequent our playground so we made some bird feeders to create a bird bistro. We had fun making these look like insects (a bee and a ladybird) We have to refill these every day as part of maintaining our garden. While researching birds, we discovered that birds love having access to a bath and a source of water. This led to us including a bird bath that we made out of large cotton reels we were gifted by workmen that had been at the school and a plant saucer. Using the RSPB website’s advice, we placed a layer of small stones on the saucer to help the birds grip on to. We placed some larger stones around the outside so that a creature can climb out in the event that it falls in by accident. One of our pupils used a piece of wood to create a ‘bridge’ across the bird bath for insects and birds to walk across. We used coffee tins to create bug hotels for insects to cosy up in. Using electrical tape, we made these look more attractive for very little cost.
When planting edible plants we wanted to grow things that we would like to eat like strawberries but also that our guinea pigs would like to munch on too. We decided on cauliflower as we know our guinea pigs love them. We also planted peas, rocket, lettuce, tomatoes, runner beans and mint. We seem to have had some little visitors who like the leaves of our cauliflower as they had lots of chunks missing! We have planted potatoes in grow bags too but they were too big to include in the pocket garden dimensions but that’s okay because we are looking to extend our garden to include more fruit and vegetables in the future.
Many of the parts of our garden were made from pre-owned and pre-loved items. We used a pallet as our base and our Secondary pupils added pre-used fence posts and wood to create a vertical frame so we could include as many plants as possible. We were extremely lucky to receive lots of pre-used plant pots from a generous lady when we posted on Weebay in Dunoon asking for materials to use in our garden. To start off our seedlings, we used plastic tubs that once contained various liquid and food items like cream or noodles. Our resident cook has been really helpful by keeping us buckets that once contained mayonnaise or peeled boiled eggs. We have used these buckets as hanging baskets; to create different levels and to create a mini pond. We have used a crate to elevate some of our plants to a higher level to create more visual interest and allow them to get more sunlight.
Creating our pocket garden has been an incredible learning curve. We have learned that the weather can be kind but also cruel and has a significant impact on the germination and growth of plants. We are already looking forward to creating a green house using our pocket garden frame so that we can begin growing earlier while protecting our seedlings from the harsh elements. We have learned about plants that are good for pollinators and that different plants require different growing conditions with some being more hardy than others. We have learned that when we work as a team we can accomplish great things and having a deadline to work towards motivated us to complete things in a timely manner. This is only the beginning and we are already looking forward to developing our outdoor area further.
Our school and local community have been invaluable resources in providing us with pre-used items like plant pots as well as donating seedlings and plants. Our local library has a seed library that has allowed us to ‘borrow’ seeds with the intention of replacing them once our plants have gone to seed. Being able to choose the seeds we would like to plant with no cost and learning about the life cycle of a plant are two fantastic benefits of this service. We would like to give back to the local community by replacing the seeds, donating other seeds and distributing any excess food that we manage to grow (if the local wildlife doesn’t get there first!)
We have had great fun planting seeds, caring for seedlings and watching our garden grow. We are looking forward to harvesting our crops and hope everyone loves our garden as much as we do.
Creating the garden – from design to reality