Monday saw our first visit to the Walled Gardens of Mr Fisher’s Year 5/6 Kittiwakes class from Burnham Market Primary School. The school have been working with us on a partnership horticultural project for over two years now and our team of gardeners always find exciting activities for the pupils to enjoy.
Winners of longest taproot competition!
First up, it was time for the children’s floral design beds to be cleared in preparation for new designs for next Spring & Summer. As all the plants were annuals, they needed to be dug up, roots and all, as their flowering season had come to an end. Pupils completely cleared the beds, dug over the soil and removed all traces of roots and debris. They even found a confused looking shrew, which had been enjoying feasting on the large, slimy slugs that had taken cover in the foliage. Of course, the shrew was set safely on its way as it is always a gardener’s friend! The surprisingly vast amount of plants, which had provided an excellent display, were then transported to the new composting bay. Here the children learnt how it would transform into fantastic, nutrient rich plant food.
After lunch, Dene (Head of Parks & Gardens) showed how the Box cuttings, planted by some of the pupils last year, had taken root in the warmth of the cold frames and were now ready for potting-on. These would then continue to grow and could be used to create hedges and topiary. Pupils expertly lifted the newly rooted plants and transported them carefully to the glasshouse, where the potting-on of a staggering 200 plants took place! There were so many that the children each took their own Box plant home.
Pressed flower design
In the final session, our Landscape Managers Phill's artistic flair really shone through. He had prepared an example display of flower and foliage arrangements which could be pressed and dried to make wall designs which would decorate the Ed Shed. Teams of children set off all around the different rooms of the garden, returning with armfuls of flowers, petals, leaves, fronds and grasses. They then set to work ingeniously crafting some absolutely beautiful designs. The designs were sandwiched between sheets of newspaper, which would absorb the moisture, and then pressed by plywood boards and breeze blocks. In 8 weeks’ time, the grand unveiling should hopefully show us how the designs have been transformed into impressive, dried pressings. Watch this space!