Our School Gardens
Website garden update
The children collected the Harvest from the garden, and delivered straight to the school kitchen.
Yellow courgettes, Spinach, Radishes, Beetroots and green tomatoes.
Award ceremony at the London Children’s flower Society
Hazelwood won the Queen Elizabeth Cup and £500 towards a horticultural visit.
The school was recognised for their efforts and their continued work of maintaining the gardens. Which includes the propagation of plants from seeds and cuttings. Growing, tending and harvesting of fruits and vegetables and flowers.
Sweet corn harvest
Autumn big dig event
There was a brilliant turnout of families all wanting to muck in.
Many large jobs were completed. Building of a new bughouse, positioning a fantastic new potting station. Planting bulbs and new plants. Weaving the willow arbour, mulching and putting the gardens to bed for winter.
Sowing of sweet peas to overwinter in the green house.
Making willow stars for Christmas
Y2 Pricking out and planting Antirrhinum flowers.
Y1 Collecting Hollyhock seeds.
Y6 Planting sweetcorn
Y6 Picking radish
A bit of history
Apart from mature trees and a few planters, Hazelwood was very lacking in green space until quite recently. At the front of the School (currently the Reception outdoor play area) was a wildlife garden with a pond designed by Hazelwood teacher Hilary Ballantine, who is now Head teacher at George Spicer School. Later it was felt that the School entrance needed more impact so, for the millennium, the raised beds and storytelling area were designed by Sally Mason (a member of staff). The storytelling furniture has since been relocated into the lower playground, close to the Growing Corner. Over the years, our grounds have successfully undergone change, proving that they are flexible spaces which can be adapted to suit many circumstances.
The growing corner was developed with the help of Keely Brooks (a parent) who also started the first gardening club in the School. Keely designed the fabulous Wildlife Garden in 2009 and continued to help run the Gardening Club until 2013 when her children left the School. During that period the School achieved the following gardening accolades; the Wildlife Garden won an award from Enfield Council; the School won second prize (presented by Alan Titchmarsh) in the ‘Planting in the Playground Competition’ run by the London Children’s Flower Society; Diarmuid Gavin visited the School because Hazelwood had collected the most Morrison’s “Let’s Grow” vouchers and finally, we were one of ten winners from all the London schools in the 2012 Olympic mini-meadows competition (ours was a nautical theme with wellies and plastic boats). Not bad going for an urban, space limited School!
Sue Langley (teacher) and a handful of parent volunteers currently run the School Gardening Club, which takes place during Thursday lunchtime (between February and November). It is open to all year groups and is very popular. The more parent volunteers we have, the more children can join in each week (we can presently accommodate up to 12 children per week). The children are encouraged to undertake all sorts of seasonal gardening jobs, including planting seeds and bulbs, weeding and watering plants, taking cuttings from existing plants, picking fruits and even tasting them….
Go on, get involved and help us to keep Hazelwood blooming! No expert knowledge required, just an enthusiasm to pass on to the kids. It really is great fun and very rewarding.
The Wildlife Garden
The Wildlife Garden is a favourite spot for so many pupils at Hazelwood with its dens, playhouse (a wonderful addition which was installed and funded by HPSA in 2013) and winding pathways. It is the perfect place to run, chase, hide, or just to sit and enjoy nature.
At the end of 2013, we ran a homework project to re-design an area of the Wildlife Garden. The children came up with lots of wonderful ideas and the parent volunteer team is hoping to bring some of these to life this year. In particular, we hope to attract and study mini beasts, birds and other wildlife. 2014 looks to be an exciting year!
Our Growing Corner
The Growing Corner is getting ready for an abundant year ahead. We have 18 raised beds of various sizes in which we have some well-established fruiting plants, including; an apple tree, raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries, grapes and currants (red and black). We will soon be adding a blackberry bush to our collection.
The newly acquired greenhouse and additional raised bed (courtesy of Morrison’s “Let’s Grow” campaign) will vastly improve our growing potential, and we hope to experiment with the following crops; garlic, onions, potatoes, beetroot, broccoli, peas and shoots, runner beans, broad beans, courgettes, tomatoes, sweetcorn, salad leaves, spinach and nasturtiums (an edible flower). We are even considering growing fruit and vegetables beyond the perimeters of the growing corner. Watch this space for Hazelwood’s very own fruit and veg stall!
These are photographs of our children harvesting rhubarb and spring onions which were then sold at the Y5 cake sale on the 3rd April.
These photographs show Year 2 broad bean planting in Spring term.
While we were working in the schools growing corner, a pupil and teacher wondered by the growing corner so we invited them in. They both were very taken with the space and learnt some interesting facts, smelt some nice herbs and wondered off with a seed to plant.
As we are organising the site more we would like other classes and year groups to use it. It is a lovely resource that all in the school are welcome to be part of and for or those that would enjoy some outdoor classroom time we could allocate a small bed/pot and some seeds.
What’s happening now
Our School gardens are maintained by a motivated group of parent volunteers who have the assistance of a professional gardening team four days a year (they attend for one weekend at the beginning and end of the year). This professional help is co-funded by HPSA in conjunction with the School, and is essential as they undertake jobs that our volunteers are simply not able to do! HPSA also fund any equipment or plants that are required (within reason!).
HPSA work hard to ensure that the School grounds are not only attractive but also fun and educational spaces for the children. It is speculated that before the end of 2014, the teaching of gardening (of some sort another) will be introduced onto the mainstream curriculum.
Morrison’s “Let’s Grow” Campaign
These vouchers are incredibly valuable to our School. In 2013 we collected a record number of vouchers, which have been exchanged for more wonderful gardening equipment, including a new raised bed and a greenhouse. Thank you to everyone who donated their vouchers.
Hazelwood is well set up for gardening activities thanks to the Morrison’s “Let’s Grow” campaign. It has over the years allowed us to purchase lots of very useful gardening equipment, so much so, that in 2013 HPSA funded the purchase of a brand new shed to keep it all in! It was professionally installed into our growing corner by a team of parents. We really do rely on our parents support in so many ways.
Get Your Grown Ups Growing Event (GYGUG) – part of the RHS Campaign for School Gardening.
Hazelwood ran its first ever GYGUG event at the end of 2013. Here is our story…
On a wonderful crisp sunny morning a good number of Hazelwood’s families turned up for a busy couple of hours. This was the Schools’ first GYGUG (Get Your Grown Ups Growing) event. It was a lovely morning, full of enjoyment and achievement.
We built a pond for our resident toad, weaved a protective willow fence in the Wildlife Garden, pruned the vine and ivy, collected leaves for compost, created a garden utility area and mulched around the beds in the growing corner. The kids had fun making bird feeders. All a perfect preparation for Winter.
As our story and photos show, our first ever GYGUG event was such a success that we are now planning to hold another one in the Spring to help prepare for the busy gardening season ahead. We have big plans! Jobs that we hope to complete include constructing a compost bin using salvaged wooden pallets, distributing two tonnes of beautiful compost (free from Enfield Council) and seed bomb making for a bit of fun!
Towards the end of this year our GYGUG event moves its attention away from ‘growing’ to ‘nurturing’, as we plan to construct a bug hotel and other wildlife habitats in preparation for the Winter. Be sure to watch out for the dates to put in your diary. FREE refreshments will be provided for all our volunteers!
It is our upmost priority to get as many children actively involved in the School gardens as possible. One new initiative we aim to routinely establish during break times is the collection and composting of all fruit waste. This is a fun way to educate the children on the basic principles of compost making. We are well on our way to being able to make our own compost, something that is not only educational but also an absolute necessity for our crops! With the story telling furniture now being conveniently located next to the Growing Corner (in the lower playground), we hope this will encourage the teachers at the School to use this new outdoor classroom to teach the children about nature and horticulture. The Gardening Club also hope to utilise this location as an outdoor teaching space.
It is speculated that the teaching of horticulture could be added to the National Curriculum as early as September 2014. With this in mind, our School is already well set up to provide the resources needed to teach children about growing plants, both for food and for fun.
From March onwards, preparations are being made for the lucrative Plant Stall. This year, it is hoped that the Gardening Club will play an active role in the sowing and nurturing of plants and edibles ready to sell on the Stall. A gratifying experience for all involved!
How you can help
If you would like to get involved in the maintenance of our School grounds, the Gardening Team would love to hear from you. We generally meet on a Thursday morning to attend to any jobs that need doing. Our Spring and Autumn GYGUG events are definitely here to stay, which is another great way to get involved and ‘do your bit’ for the School. Alternatively, why not donate some seeds, plants, compost or anything else that might be of use.
If you would like to get in touch, please contact Penny Addison at email@example.com