The Kindness Kingdom
For our garden we are celebrating King Charles and his royal coronation. King Charles III is a committed environmentalist with a long history of campaigning for better conservation, organic farming and tackling climate change.
King Charles has been active in beekeeping for years and has long championed the cause of bees whilst he was Prince of Wales. He keeps hives across England and Scotland.
We have engineered a castle to celebrate King Charles Coronation by using local reclaimed building materials. The castle has 2 old chimney pots and 2 drainage pipes to appear as towers. Each tower has been created for a specific and different purpose.
- Worm Tower – We created a worm tower by drilling holes in a 6 inch drainage pipe which was donated by a parent. The tower was then situated on a corner of the Kindness Kingdom where the worms could distribute the nutrition to the other 3 sides of the Kingdom.
- Bee Tower – The bottom of the bee tower has holes and is filled with soil to allow worms to visit the walls and different chambers of the Kingdom. The worm tower was then filled with 2 year old horse manure and compost material e.g. food waste. We gathered worms from under the cardboard weed suppressors in the nursery garden and added the worms from our worm world that we had been studying. We are continuing to add worms as we find them. At the top of the tower it contains armeria maritima (sea pinks) which grows well in sand and attracts the bees.
- Toad Tower – Has been created by using a reclaimed chimney pot. There is a hole at the bottom for entry of toads/frogs and filled with soil and colourful flowers at the top. A space has been created at the bottom of the toad tower with an access tunnel that is filled with leaves that we collected from our wildlife pond. The toad tower is situated next to our small mote which holds some water.
- Flower Tower – Is constructed by using a reclaimed chimney pot and includes colourful flowers that attract bees, butterflies and birds. We have planted a “Lily of the valley” flower that was donated by a life time resident of Glenluce. This is because Glenluce is known as the “Valley of Light” and it was also the Queens favourite flower
- Bug Quarters – This has been constructed and filled with wood, bark, fir cones, twigs and grass to create a warm, dry space to attract various creepy crawlies such as ladybirds, bees and woodlice. The bug quarters has been attached to the bee tower
- The walls - Is compacted with soil, apart from one side where there is a door created for the entry of Haggis the garden hedgehog. We created a hedgehog house in the centre of the Kingdom with a frame. We developed a potato experiment to assess the best insulation in addition to the insulation board. The experiment resulted in the meadow hay keeping the potato the warmest. A small tunnel was then created for our hedgehog to cross the mote easily. The roof of the hedgehog house has been designed to run into a guttering which runs into a water feeder for the birds. The overflow of the water feeder runs into the small moat which will hydrate other wildlife.
- The pocket garden includes a water collection point to attract the birds. This is created by recycled drainage pipes, house tiles and recycled plastic bottles. This will collect water coming down off the slanted tile roof, into the guttering and through a castle wall via a pipe. This is to feed the birds, keep the hedgehog house dry and cosy and the over flow of water will create the moat.
Children chose what seeds they wanted to plant with their parents in shallow trays. They were responsible for watering their own plants in the greenhouse. Children took pride and responsibility for this part of the project. The children experienced that some plants grew quicker than others and enjoyed seeing all the different plants grow. Children were able to identify the differentiation of the plants leaves from prickly milk thistles to the smoother cabbage leaves. Our plants were loved too much and some did not survive due to over watering and a Pink Lady Apple tree was donated to use by a member of the public who grew it from seed last year. Overall, the children’s seeds have grown successfully due to the dedication and caring attention from the children.
We have had parents helping to plant the flowers from seeds and the families have donated chimney pots and posts and helped hammer them in for structural safety. The antiques centre gave us a slate for the roof of the hedgehog house and chimney pot for one of the towers. The local community reuse shop gave us a chimney pot and other materials. We received wool from a local farmer to go into the bottom of the planters to hold the water and 2 year old horse manure for nutrition at the bottom to fertilise the plants. We gathered mole hill soil from the school playing field to help fill our planters. We tried to grow our own apple tree from seed but it did not work therefore a woman donated an 18inch apple tree that she grew from seed to place into the centre of our kingdom. Due to a small selection of our plants not flowering we rescued colourful flowering weeds to be placed in the flower tower to make it more colourful.
The local sawmill donated us wood and the insulation board which lines the hedgehog house. One of the nursery grandparents gave us paving slabs for the floor of the hedgehog house. Whisky barrel planks were purchased at the local whisky barrel craft shop for the outside of the Kingdom. We received stones from a local company.
During the creation of the Kindness Kingdom we have been learning about solitary and honey bees with a special visit to the library to learn more about bees. We have been learning about the plant life cycle and we have learned about solar energy when creating the solar panel.
We did experiments to learn about water irrigation to assess the best way to supply water to our plants during long breaks. We found that a watering wick with a raised container worked well and a bottle with a small hole in the bottom of it for slow release. The buried bottles do not detract from the beauty of our kingdom and we added flags to the wick for our celebration theme.
We did experiments on potatoes at the campfire to assess the best heat retention for the hedgehog house.
The children have learned about the differences of toads and frogs and the habitats they live in. For the beginning to the end of creating the kindness kingdom children have learned all about soil nutrition and worms.
We added a mystery plant growing on cork in the garden and have been amazed at the resilience of plants.
After the competition is over the Kindness Kingdom will be a permanent feature in our marvelous meadow and the nursery will continue to use the edible plants for snack and to feed the guinea pigs. Each year a tree will be transferred to the hill and another fruit tree will replace it as children move on to Primary 1. The apple tree is significant to Glenluce Nursery as it is prominent in our class charter.
Creating the garden – from design to reality