Parkwood Primary School - latest

On October 13th 2012 about 40 parents and children came into school on a Saturday to do gardening and maintenance work, as well enjoying each others' company and food. The Parkwood parents have become increasingly active with the school and 6 such working days are planned throughout the 2012/13 academic year. Incidentally, the particularly active parents are mostly of children in year 1, so this bodes well for the next few years at Parkwood! We noticed that lots of parents from nursery and reception children turned up. It was a most satisfying day.

car park bedcar park bedThese girls are watering in some newly planted edible plants. They are annuals such as land cress and orache and perennials such as fuchsia and flowering quince. This adds to the already impressive array of mostly edible plants growing here beneath the sweet cherry trees. They have been planted by the previous gardener, Ben, by the gardening club children (mostly year 2/3) and by the year 5 children. The plants were grown on site from collected seeds or taken from the local plant nursery, Edible Landscapes London. The earth on this bed has been built up using council compost and held into the bed with scaffold planks. Other plants include sage, chives, mint, mullein, rosemary, lavender, artichoke, mallow, jostaberry, shasta daisy, calendula, nasturtium, hawthorn and violet. The most popular plants for nibbling are the chives and the honeysuckle flowers. We have to be careful though because Deadly Nightshade also finds its way here.

Rob planting JostaberryRob planting JostaberryThis is by the main playground, Rob is planting a Jostaberry, which is a cross between a gooseberry and blackcurrant. Wonderful vigorous and productive plant that can be propagated by cuttings. We hope it will get enough sun - it is facing south-ish there. The dark green bush to his right is an evergreen Elaeagnus, which has beautifully scented flowers in October. It is a nitrogen fixing plant, so when Laura trims it later on, we decide to leave the clippings right on the soil to rot there, so that other plants can benefit. A little later on more people turn up to plant out some smaller perennial plants. big playground bedbig playground bedThere's enough for every child to plant at least one. We've been building up the number of plants in this bed since spring 2012 when Jo noticed the edible chickweed was about to be scraped away by the council gardeners. When the children learned they could eat it they were very pleased - though not all liked the taste. As the chickweed went leggy and woody, we sheet mulched the bed with cardboard, put woodchips on top and added in all sorts of plants such as pretty calendulas, columbines, beans and sweetcorn. Jo also showed the children how to pick and eat leaves from the lime (linden) trees growing along the bed. The only dangerous plant here is the groundsel. On the October workday we add a grape vine and three larger berry bushes.

Now heading past the staffroom window, we find the raised bed planted up and written about here. Two dads shorten the tree stakes that were too long to allow the trees flex in the wind and strengthen. Year 5 children have been harvesting the grapes and strawberries and this bed is doing well. There has been some vandalism to the trees but they are mostly producing fruit.

formal gardenformal gardenOutside years 5 and 6, the wildlife area and pond has been converted by one parent to a formal garden using plants left over from the 2011 Chelsea flower show. Unfortunately this high maintenance garden has become over run with weeds. On the October workday parents remove huge quantities of weeds - about 80% of the vegetation.

Outside the school kitchen, two dads repair asphalt on the shed roof. We are delighted to find that one of the dads is a professional builder, so Sam and he get things sorted really quickly. The flowerbed in front of the greenhouse is dug over and compost added. A huge New Zealand Flax is uprooted and transplanted to the boundary fence. annual bedannual bedAs well as lots of potatoes, they find an enormous lump of concrete and discover that the bed is only about 50cm deep. One parent, Claudine, plans to plant annuals in this bed, with some help from the year 1 children. In summer 2012 she successfully planted lots of tomatoes, chillis and peppers in the greenhouse. This greenhouse is used by the Wilberforce Gardeners who use it to bring on the plants for their twice yearly plant sale. To the right of the shed is year 5's forest garden. It was prepared during Capital Growth's Big Dig event in March 2012.

To finish off with, here's Chester's dad and ex-Parkwood pupil, George, carrying off the huge lump of concrete. And they are smiling!