Old Church Nursery Garden Project:
The Rural Arts Centre is carrying out an outside area refurbishment for the Stepney school. Their brief, ‘Environment, Education, Risky Play’, includes:
- Play pit for infants using natural and recycled materials
- Fish pond with fountain
- Forest garden
- Amphibian pond and sanctuary
- Dock area around mud pit
- Bridge over path including ladder, cargo net & climbing wall
Week Five saw an influx of volunteers from KPMG to get their hands and clothes mucky.
They did a great job and got everything finished: clearing the amphibian, play and fire areas. The children helped fill the sand pit and thoroughly enjoyed getting really dirty.
Many thanks to Rachel and her team from KPMG.
We’ve dug the frog pond but found some trees have a fungal infection which tree surgeons need to assess and sort before we can carry on.
Legs for the play area bridge are marked out and ready for building to start.
Here’s what Farmer Tom has to say about the Hedgerow Planting Session:
‘We have recently finished planting the native hedgerow in the forest garden at Old Church Nursery.
‘The mix of species is designed to mimic a traditional native hedge whilst providing colour and interest throughout the year.
‘Hawthorn is the staple hedging plant as it grows well in most conditions and provides attractive blossom and berries which encourage birds and insects. Other species designed to attract wildlife include wayfaring tree for butterflies and native crab apple, which is beneficial to a whole host of animals.
‘The children helped in the planting process by digging holes, picking out hedgerow plants and treating the roots of the trees with mycorrhizae – a mixture of beneficial fungus that help the plants grow quicker and protect them from disease.
‘This was mixed with a gel that meant the roots could be quickly dunked, planted, firmed in and then watered – a messy job that the kids seemed particularly to enjoy.
‘The staggered double row of plants was then staked with bamboo and protected with tree guards.
‘The hedge will be trimmed back hard for the first couple of years to encourage bushy growth and then parts will be left to allow them to flower and provide fruit for wildlife.’
Forgework pictures: Keep up with the Forge project work on Facebook
Week One: January 14 -21 2013
Drinks cans collected by the nursery are transforming into ingots to cast children’s hands for the climbing wall.
Work started on re-commissioning an old filled-in fish pond that’s had to be reshaped to avoid damaging a tree.
The team cleared the forest garden area and built the rolling landscape with tonnes of soil kindly donated by Crossrail
Week Two: 21- 28 January 2013
The insect hotel was built using pallets for the walls and roof filled with logs, leaves, twigs: all the goodies creepy crawlies love.
Farm gardeners helped the kids dig up plants from the existing raised bed to prepare for hedgerow planting.
The kids also helped build the hedgehog house out of re-used materials. We’re hoping to rehome some wonderful hedgehogs: they’re becoming rarer by the day so it’s a great opportunity for a pair to breed and thrive.
Work started on fence posts and framework for the forest garden and the secret garden. Old scaffold boards for panels are taking shape in the woodwork shop.
Artist Blacksmith Ian has been in his forge constructing the fish pond cover. He’s going to run a workshop there so the kids can watch the fishpond cover take shape.
Farmer Tom from the Local Food Project will run a hedgerow planting workshop.