Environment & Gardening
Gardening at Prince of Wales has been very different this year. Normally we would plant fruit and vegetable seeds with all of the children, however due to the school being closed during the spring we were unable to do this. We also have not had a gardening club due to the pandemic.
However the grounds have still been in full bloom and we have been visited by lots of wildlife throughout the year.
This year in the community garden we planted a rainbow of colour to show our support for the NHS. We used Perennial plants that will come back year after year. We also planted some courgettes, peppers and tomatoes which Miss Homer grew from seed on her bedroom windowsill while the school was closed. We now have some winter vegetables growing in the garden. These have been covered with netting to prevent them being eaten by slugs and snails.
Earlier in the year the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust came back to help us finish off our swale pond. The swale was built to help with drainage around the school as we have a very high water table in the area, which can make us prone to flooding. The WWT came in to help us build a wildlife pond in one end of the swale to attract frogs, newts and other wildlife. We had children, parents and staff volunteer to help us do the work and they helped with digging, laying wildflower turf, putting in the membrane for the pond and filling it up with water, as well as putting in new steps to allow access into the swale.
The Sunflower Garden
Our Sunflower Garden is one of the gardens that the children usually plant lots of fruit and vegetables in each year. We always get Sunflowers self-seeding and growing in there along with poppies and lots of other wildflowers. Normally we would keep some sunflowers and poppies, while clearing space for the children to plant. Due to the school being closed during the spring and into the summer we decided to let the wild flowers grow to encourage wildlife.
The pond garden is one of our smallest gardens. We have a lovely wildlife pond which has Newts, Water slaters, Damselfly Nymphs, Fresh Water Cockles and many other creatures living in it. This year we have laid a small stretch of fake grass to allow children to kneel by the side of the pond to do ponding dipping and learn about the wildlife that lives in there. We will soon be extending the garden into a neighbouring area to create a continuous wildlife garden for the children to explore.
Last Autumn Nursery, Reception and Year 1 planted some tulip bulbs in their gardens. Year 1 planted varieties that looked like the kind that the artist Rembrandt used to paint. This linked in with their work in art. We try to link the work the children do in the gardens the curriculum wherever possible.
The (Former) Chicken Garden
The chicken garden is one of our larger gardens. Until recently we kept chickens in there (hence the name). However since lockdown the chickens have gone to live with Mr Oliver, one of our site managers, and we have decided not to keep chickens for the foreseeable future.
We used to plant vegetables in the planters in this garden, however the chickens kept eating them! So we started planting ornamental flowering plants instead. This has given us a beautiful and bright display this year. We are going to continue to plant up the rest of the beds and work has begun to redevelop this garden into a more useable space for the children to use.
Front Driveway and Rockery
Our front driveway is divided into a few different areas with a variety of types of planting. Some of the plants on the rockery we made flowered this summer. These unusual looking plants are very tough and can survive with very little soil and water. We also had a lovely display by our pergola with lot of colour. Our climbers are getting bigger each year and will eventually cover the structure.