maintenance

One of the main things that I wanted to do with this design was to set in place a long term maintenance plan, to be sure that the garden would be used to it's fullest potential and not forgotten about, as I see in so many schools. I did this in several ways:

Teacher training day

Just as the garden was finished and before the children came back into school after the holidays, I ran a one day teacher training course. This day covered the benefits of school gardens and why they are so important, and I showed videos and photographs of other school gardens being used and integrated successfully around the world. We talked about linking the curriculum to their new garden and worked together in groups to come up with lesson plans and ideas of possible sessions that could be now taken outside to make the most of their new space. We also discussed fears and potential barriers for the teachers.  We followed all of this with a tour of the new garden with demonstrations and trials of each new element. 

Parents tour

After the first day of school I showed the parents around the new garden and was there to answer any questions that they had. the response was overwhelmingly positive.

After school gardening clubs

Every Wednesday afternoon from the first week of term I came to the school to run an after school garden club. The club was fully booked from the outset, with 15 children originally in the first term, which we then limited to 12 for the second term. We covered caring for the new garden, plant I.D, designing, planting, seed saving, and much more. Included in the garden club were Kathryn (the office manager of the school and keen gardener) a lady from the board of governors of the school (who was also an agricultural farmer with lots of crop and grazing land nearby), and one parent. We also had visits from some ladies from the local church connected to the school, who would come and request flowers potting when there were church celebrations. 

The after school clubs lasted for about 3 months, until I stepped back and the other adults continued running them. As I was visiting the school every week for such a long time I was able to keep a check on everything we had planted, to make sure everything was going well. Any tweaks that were needed could mainly be done within the gardening club itself, which was also very multi-beneficial, as it helped the children to be fully engaged in the garden and be a part of it's growth and design.