Friday, 27 April 2012

Weeding the orchard

Today some fantastic year fives braved the rain and the mud and got weeding. They weeded around the fruit trees and put some good soil around the base of each tree.

I took the opportunity to show them the broad beans so they could see that the flowers had been replaced by beans. They talked about where the fruit would grow on the trees.

We also had a go at twisting some birch to make a structure for the beans to grow up.
It was good to be able to spend longer than thirty minutes gardening.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

The Hedge Comes Down

 The end of the garden can now be seen from the gate. The hedge was chopped down, all the rubble, wood and rubbish removed by a corporate group who gave up their own time to help clear the end of our garden. The children will be surprised and delighted when they see it on Monday. Jim chipped quite a lot of the branches during the day which means our compost heap has doubled in size.       A BIG THANKYOU TO EVERYONE. Apologies for the grey stripe not sure what that is at the moment.

Thursday, 19 April 2012


This is what the end of the garden looked like today. On Saturday I am looking forward to seeing it cleared so I will finally be able to see what the whole site looks like.
Once the rubbish is cleared we will be able to create pathways for the entire garden. The London Orchard Project are coming to have a look at the end of the garden on Monday to see if the school can work with them.

Jim is going to chip all the branches that have been chopped so our compost heap will grow as well.

The rain has prevented the children going in the garden but they did go in the greenhouse and water the tomatoes as well as weed out any tiny weeds threatening to grow. The children were fascinated with the gel air vents which open and close in a very scientific way.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Today it was sunny in the garden and year three and year six had the opportunity to use their imagination and creative writing skills. They were working with author and storyteller Margaret Bateson-Hill on a book making project based around our Secret Garden.

The children were inspired to look really carefully at all the plants that were growing. The size of the leaves, the flowers, the colours, the smells. Stones were examined and questions raised.  We hoped the robin would return and we heard some birdsong but not the robin.

 Children used their sense of smell, sight, touch and hearing they can't use taste yet but it won't be long.

The writing project will continue through the summer term as well as all the gardening activities.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Squirrel Attack

The squirrels have been in the garden during the Easter break. They have been digging up the potatoes and playing with them. Sadly some of the plants that were already growing have disappeared completely. If anyone has any tips on what to do about squirrels please post a comment.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Tomatoes in their new home

On bank holiday Monday when everyone was enjoying the afternoon I found myself worrying about the tomatoes. I had left them in the school with no children to look after them.

I went to school and moved them into the greenhouse next to the spring cabbage. I watered them and then said goodbye.

The garden needs some children to come and fill it with life.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Teaching Garden 2012

Jim teaches everyone how to look carefully so we could tell which were the weeds and which were the plants we wanted.

Katie then continues the lesson she is the expert  now. Everyone weeds until just the Cosmos and Poached Egg are left.

Jim teaches everyone how to plant onions. He tells us just how big they will be.

 Parents then become experts and teach the children.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

A Cold April Morning 2012

Today was a cold day but as usual there was no shortage of people ready to learn some more gardening skills. One group carefully pulled out the weeds from the flower bed, not as easy as it sounds as they had to learn which were weeds and which were going to be the 'poached egg' or 'cosmos' plants.
Jim gave a 'how to plant your onion' lesson and then all the children had a go at planting one. Two people from Vibe teaching agency used the pick axe to dig a hole to plant another apple tree.
Two parents forked over another bed and put soil improver on so the bed is ready for planting carrots and cabbages. The children took all the weeds out of the beds so they will be clear for planting.
The Greenhouse had more soil improver put in as a top layer so the plants in there will have some good quality earth to grow in. Finally Jim and a dedicated parent put up some of the wires that the fruit trees will grow along. A BIG THANK YOU TO EVERYONE.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

The Greenhouse March 2012

The greenhouse is now in place and ready for the next step. We are meeting to begin clearing the rest of the site and work out what is going in the greenhouse and in the garden beds. The children are going to be working on tasks each week so all the jobs get done. It is difficult not to stand and stare at the greenhouse and wonder how it got there. The garden is beginning to be a quiet safe place for children and adults to work and enjoy the fruits of their labour.

March 2012 The Greenhouse base is completed

We do our first community day without Jim and complete the greenhouse base. We are now waiting for it to arrive.

March 2012 Greenhouse path

One wet and windy morning the greenhouse path and base finished, Jim teaches everyone how to dig soil improver into the beds for the greenhouse. Someone has found another worm.

March 2012 Children learn to plant

Class one are the first to plant in Spring. We have already planted garlic and Broad Beans in the Autumn. Now onions and potatoes are added to the list.

Second Community Day March 2012

The garden is gradually becoming a place where everyone can find something to do, from the oldest to the youngest. The greenhouse base was dug out on our second community day we were even baked a cake which made the event complete.

First Community Day February 2012

We held our first joint gardening session with children, parents, residents and a couple of volunteers from Vibe teaching agency as well as Jim of course.
We managed to plant the fruit trees and clear away all the rubbish from the area designated for the greenhouse.

January 2012 Fruit trees arrive

After unloading the trees from the van the class five gardeners learn about fruit trees from Jim. RHS Wisley have helped us again by giving us apple,pear and plum trees at an incredible price. The money we raised playing steel pans at Clapham Junction and singing outside Asda has bought enough fruit trees to plant along the edges of the garden.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

RHS help 2011

RHS Wisley have been amazing. Not only do we have Jim Bliss from the RHS, Wisley gave us a day when they cut down the plum tree that was casting a shadow over a large part of the garden and built three garden beds near the gate. They used a chipper to make wood chippings for the compost heap.

The next step was then to set the garden beds in place.

Wates Community Day

A local company give up a whole day to clear the site of several skips of rubbish. The garden beds can be set out and are now ready to be fitted in place on the site. The children have a look round and Jim explains what needs to happen before they can work in the garden.

Chelsea May 2011

Jim Bliss takes a group of gardeners to Chelsea to be inspired by Bunny Guinness. They have a wonderful time and learn a lot about gardens. M&G give Christ Church the garden beds used in the M&G garden. Thank you M&G. Jim and the Morris family transport the beds to the 'Secret Garden'.Thank you Jim, Ed, Hannibal, Isaac, Barry, local residents and the fire brigade.

Site Survey December 2010

Children learn how to complete a site survey from Jim. They produce a drawing that is given to the whole school to look at.

Bulb Planting October 2010

Jim Bliss continues to teach children gardening skills. The children love going out to work with him.

All Parliamentary visit October 2010

Not sure they are convinced that we can convert this into a wonderful garden.

All Parliamentary visit October 2010

Jim Bliss our very own RHS Adviser welcomes the all parliamentary group along with members of the RHS. They have come to see first hand the importance of developing gardening with children.

The Fire Brigade saves the day August 2010

We were expecting a volunteer group to arrive in August to begin clearance of the site. They let us down so at the last minute I knocked on the door of the local fire brigade  who came across and gave us a hand in-between shouts. They cleared the site so we had the first real look at the ground. It was also our first real look at all the rubbish on the ground. Thank you Battersea Fire Station.

Grand Opening July 2010

In July 2010 the garden is blessed by our vicar and we are supported by another local parish, St Luke's, who are helping us develop the garden. Not many people can get into the garden as it is a health and safety hazard at the moment. The children say their prayer for the garden outside.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Secret Garden May 2010

This is where the story begins. In May 2010 our school leased a piece of land to develop. We called it the 'Secret Garden'.