Linnvale Primary School
My New Life
Our garden celebrates Scotland being a welcoming and safe place for people leaving the threat of war to live. Our school was fortunate to receive many children from the first flight of Syrian refugees, this has transformed our school as our pupils and parents welcomed our new families, and our new families soon became involved in school life by joining family cooking classes as well as helping with our school gardens.
This subject was poignant to our entrant Eela as her family left their home in Kurdistan and moved away in order to stay safe.
They arrived in Scotland in 2016 from Erbil and settled in Clydebank. As the theme was ‘celebration’, Eela wanted to celebrate the chance of happiness and safety that her family got when they moved here.
Moments of freedom
Eela’s garden design incorporates two old suitcases, which represent them packing up their lives. The cases were going to be thrown out, but instead the children punctured holes in the base of the them for drainage and then they filled them with peat free compost and some of the compost from the school compost heap! They surrounded the pallet with wood from a pallet which they sawed up and screwed together to make a frame and they used part of a piece of conservatory roofing for the clapperboard backdrop. We had help constructing that piece of the design from the staff and pupils at Choices School in Balloch who have a fantastic workshop and had offered their help in February to our school and we were glad of their help and expertise!
In the cases, we planted edible herbs and plants such as chives, thyme, parsley, rosemary, sage, nasturtium, basil and pansies! The chives self-seeded from last year’s Pocket Garden entry and one of the thyme was from that too. Sadly, our basil has not germinated. We have also planted marigolds (which were grown from seed), lithodora (another plant salvaged and saved from last year), antirrhinum, lavender, a dahlia, a sunflower grown from seed and a honeysuckle (which was gifted to us by one of the teachers.) A parent donated the antirrhinums, lavender and dahlia.
Using the gaps in the pallet we have created an insect zone around the surround of the garden by filling in the gaps of the pallet with tree cookies, old tree bark, leaves, grass, tree cookies with holes bored in them by pupils, rocks and cardboard pots. Primary 5 searched the grounds and found lots of natural materials to add to here to provide food and shelter for the mini beasts. We were thrilled to be able to reuse so many plants as well as one of the pallets from last year. Two of our flags were made by cutting up old t-shirts while the other was repurposed from Scottish Day.
This project has involved many classes: P5 sowed and grew the marigolds, P6 designed and constructed the garden; P6/7 created the beautifully decorated garden pots (Made from catering sized food tins kindly saved by our school catering staff) and P7 have been busy watering the garden and added some planting too. The gardening pots have designs of mountains showing depicting Scotland’s beautiful wild spaces and flowers to show the diversity of natural wildflowers. Some aspects of our completed design, such as the pots and bug home came from another entry and it had been recommended in our feedback that we should try to incorporate some elements from it.
The three flags represent where Eela and her family has lived and the clapperboard symbolizes the film, ‘Moments of Freedom’ which her mum was involved in which told of the Kurdish and Syrian families adjusting to life in the Scotland. Her mum wrote a poem in Arabic and English telling of her thoughts and emotions of her new life. Eela wanted to include this in her garden as she was exceptionally proud of what her mother achieved and this is what influenced her design. She chose plants and vibrant flowers which she felt represented her homeland.
Creating the garden – from design to reality