For the last two years we have been creating wild areas in Leicester city primary schools, thanks to the support of players of People's Postcode Lottery. To see these gardens, click here
One of the larger projects we have undertaken is to transform a patch of underused grass into a vibrant sensory garden at Willow Bank Children's Hospital School in Leicester.
The Japanese-influenced garden provides a calm, private and relaxing space for the children at the school. It features Japanese maples, bamboos, a pond, wooden bridge and solar powered rill. The garden also has a number of wildlife friendly features, including a 'bee bank' and wildflower meadow.
George Sfougaras, Headteacher at Willow Bank School, said:
“Outdoor spaces are extremely important in enabling young people to regain a sense of well-being. Creating this beautifully tranquil sensory garden space has added enormous visual, aesthetic and therapeutic value to a space that was previously neutral and uninviting”.
At St Mary's CofE Primary School in Bitteswell, we revitalised the wildlife area, which had become a jungle of nettles and cow parsley, taller than the heads of most of the children. First we put in some informal woodchip paths and cleared the seating circle. Then, working alongside the children, we created a small wildlife pond, renovated a willow maze, planted a hedge and added numerous minibeast hunting habitat piles.
We redeveloped the habitat study area at Fairfield Preparatory School, Loughborough, by creating raised beds for vegetables, planting sensory herbs and a butterfly meadow, constructing a circle of log seats and making three different minibeast hunting areas.
In Leicester, we worked alongside school council students at Thurnby Lodge Primary School to build and stain 4 large wooden planters, providing islands of greenery (and valuable habitat) in their tarmac playground.
At Church Langton Primary School, we designed and created a new and sizeable garden space. We put in paths, a log seating area, three small ponds, flower and vegetable beds, some brash piles and a turf stack for habitat and minibeast safaris.
Tessa Bladon, Year 6 Teacher at Church Langton Primary School, said:
“The Grow Wild Team was just what we were looking for. They sensitively interpreted designs by our Year 6 children and have created the template for us to work with over the next few months.When complete we will have an environment which provides a large variety of habitats for wildlife and a wonderful place for children and adults to work, observe, reflect and relax.”
Spend a day at Barnsdale cutting back and sustaining a wildlife garden ready for the following spring period.