Gavinburn Primary School

A Garden of Celebration: Gavinburn Pocket Garden

We have chosen to celebrate our Scottish History and Heritage! We have considered all the design principles of the above heading and of the One Planet Picnic.

We live in a small village in the outskirts of Glasgow called Old Kilpatrick. Our school is situated on an ancient Roman Fort which was part of the Antonine Wall. We chose to combine Scottish Myth and Folklore with the Roman heritage in the area. This was a topic we recently researched for the project.

Can you spot Nessie?

Edinbug Castle

Mythological creatures

We have set aside a few areas in our pocket garden for wildlife! These include a mini meadow within a naturally hollowed out Tree stump. This was then filled with a wild flower “bomb”.  A bug hotel “Edinbug Castle”, a pollinator’s rest stop, a picnic bench and tea cup and tea pot area for birds to rest and enjoy food and water. All plants grown and used are also safe for consumption and compost is organically produced in our Wormery within the School grounds, which also produces Worm Tea that is a rich source of nutrition for our plants and flowers.

We have created a two tiered garden of edible plants:

  • Low level for low growing, shorter rooted flowering plants
  • High level for deeper rooted vegetables like potatoes and spinach, carrots, Garlic and Beans.
  • Canes used to allow Beans to climb up structure also.

Vertical gardening using shelves to expand our growing space:

  • Hanging baskets fixed to the side of the garden’s structure, made from Irn Bru cans with herbs planted in then.
  • Potato bags position at each side of the garden.

We have incorporated the Roman theme by choosing plants, vegetables and herbs that were introduced by the Romans. We have considered all the design principles.

All the plants and vegetables we have chosen were grown from seed at the school or by the parent volunteers at home. We have chosen to grow spinach, parsnips, potatoes, carrots, garlic, wild strawberries, peas and herbs. Sedum, Violas, Poppies, Corn flowers, Grasses, Calendula, Chives, Greater Celandine, Willow herb, Common Birdsfoot Trefoil. All of the plants are seasonal and grow well in Scotland. The pocket garden is completely organic. We never use pesticides or fungicides that destroy soil life. We make our own compost at school and therefore our soil is ethically sourced. This was used to feed and mulch the allotment bed of the pocket garden. We have a Wormery in our sensory garden at school, where we produce Worm Tea which has been used to feed our garden and encourage growth.

In our design all of our building materials have been reclaimed or recycled from our own school ground, homes and gardens. Bricks reclaimed from the school grounds, were used to create our dividing wall, and represent the Antonine Wall. Wood consisted of reclaimed pallet, plywood, Tree stump hollowed out ad branches. Empty Irn-bru cans, compost, reclaimed tiles for Roman Mosaic, reclaimed plastic white guttering for the water element of the Saltire Flag, Willow from trees in School grounds, used for weaving tartan frame. Old cup and tea pot donated by volunteer. Second hand bunting donated by parent volunteer and decorated by children.  For Bug hotel, reclaimed wood, old roof felt, sticks, pinecones, dried leaves and lichen.

The walls of the structure are decorated with colourful paintings of mythological creatures, a Kelpie and a Selkie. These also form the basis of our vertical garden which is shelved to display our herb pots and containers. Blue and white low growing plants such as violas have been chosen to recreate the Scottish Saltire Flag, and have been planted surrounding some white guttering that incorporates a water section in our Saltire. This represents the Clyde River which our village is on the banks of and which the Roman’s used as a key trading route.  Reusing Irn Bru cans as planters is a fun and decorative way of highlighting modern Scottish culture. The Bricks also represent the Antonine Wall between Old Kilpatrick and Bo'ness. A small mosaic section with the School Crest is displayed on the lower level of the garden, has been carefully created to pay homage to the Roman heritage. Willow weaved from trees located on the school grounds, was used to create a fun, colourful and natural tartan frame decoration.

The Children learned how important teamwork is, to undertake and achieve their collective vision successfully. Also how different people have different skills, abilities and interests, that can be used together to create our finished structure. The importance of good communication skills such as listening to instructions, ideas and concerns and being able to problem solve and reflect through discussions on things that might have been wrong and that it is okay if we make mistakes and how we can adapt and change things. Other things they learned were how to respect the area we were working in with self awareness and safety always being considered. They learned how to use hand and power tools safely and in a controlled manner and how to follow plans and criteria form our submission picture. They learned about sustainability and resourcefulness and that scavenging for items and natural resources around the area was lots of fun. They also learned about the stages and life cycles of the plants as we grew and cared for our seedlings and garlic bulbs. The different shapes, sizes, colour, texture, taste and smells of each type.

We have been able to undertake this project and create our pocket garden due to having four parent volunteers who work alongside the children weekly and promote activities that encourage biodiversity and sustainability within the School grounds. Seeds and plant bulbs such as garlic were donated by the volunteers who grow some vegetables and plants at home. The School staff/teachers have also been very supportive with allowing the children and volunteers to salvage and reuse old or discarded materials located within the School grounds or from home and gardens. 

Our Pocket Garden will remain in situ for all the Nursery and School pupils to enjoy and to celebrate such fantastic team work and the achievement of creating such a lovely structure that further promotes biodiversity within the School. This will allow new activities to be undertaken and developed within the pocket garden in future.

Garden Design

Creating the garden – from design to reality

Garden Video

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