At least two of the Nightingale Gardeners also volunteer at Queen Edith's Primary School. Many local (and not so local) children come to Nightingale community Garden out of school hours, so it makes sense to collaborate and co-ordinate with what is happening locally. 

February 2019: we have planted a new mini bed by the school reception with some edging donated by a local resident.

February 2019: we have planted a new mini bed by the school reception with some edging donated by a local resident.

We work with parent volunteers and staff. Weather allowing, we meet on Thursday afternoons from 2 to 3.30 and also on the odd evening or Saturday. Our aim is to support school staff to make and maintain parts of the school ‘gardens’. Volunteers need to be DBS checked, sign in at school reception and wear a lanyard. Contact the school if you’d like to join in.

Garden volunteers also like to attend the annual school fete in May, with a plant stall and some information about gardening. If you have any spare plants, do being them along to sell. It supports the school - and is fun too. Volunteers very welcome!

October 2018: mini bug hotel made from waste materials by parent volunteers and some school students. It was made at Nightingale community garden.

October 2018: mini bug hotel made from waste materials by parent volunteers and some school students. It was made at Nightingale community garden.

2018: Just a few of the thank you notes from school students.

2018: Just a few of the thank you notes from school students.

June 2018: Wigwams made by school students. We like to mix veg with flowers.

June 2018: Wigwams made by school students. We like to mix veg with flowers.

June 2018: We made a bed with all kinds of size and shape of flowers and leaves. For science.

June 2018: We made a bed with all kinds of size and shape of flowers and leaves. For science.

June 2018: The edible flower bed. The red nasturtiums are very peppery and popular with children. Also, potatoes growing in pots and our birdhouse second-hand mini shed.

June 2018: The edible flower bed. The red nasturtiums are very peppery and popular with children. Also, potatoes growing in pots and our birdhouse second-hand mini shed.

June 2018: Strawberries are very popular and easy to grow. Donated from a local garden. We use wooden forks and spoons (From Nisbets) as markers for edible plants. There are some painted stones in the bed too (they look a bit like easter egss?).

June 2018: Strawberries are very popular and easy to grow. Donated from a local garden. We use wooden forks and spoons (From Nisbets) as markers for edible plants. There are some painted stones in the bed too (they look a bit like easter egss?).

June 2018: Salad bed with lots of different types and colours of leaves to eat.

June 2018: Salad bed with lots of different types and colours of leaves to eat.

June 2018: The runner beans were productive late into the Autumn. Veg Power!

June 2018: The runner beans were productive late into the Autumn. Veg Power!

June 2018: courgette plants, which were very productive. Watering rings were donated via Nightingale Garden.

June 2018: courgette plants, which were very productive. Watering rings were donated via Nightingale Garden.

June 2018: Mangetout peas and aubergines plants. In the hot dry summer we even had a small outdoor crop of aubergines.

June 2018: Mangetout peas and aubergines plants. In the hot dry summer we even had a small outdoor crop of aubergines.

June 2018: Broad beans and potatoes growing in the raised beds.

June 2018: Broad beans and potatoes growing in the raised beds.

June 2018: the two ‘pretty flower’ beds by the staff room. Good for pollinators - and staff.

June 2018: the two ‘pretty flower’ beds by the staff room. Good for pollinators - and staff.

June 2018: Sweet peas by the staff room. Wigwam made by school students, with a bit of help. Bicycle inner tube ties didn’t last very well in the sun.

June 2018: Sweet peas by the staff room. Wigwam made by school students, with a bit of help. Bicycle inner tube ties didn’t last very well in the sun.

June 2018: View along the beds. We have a bench for staff - and others.

June 2018: View along the beds. We have a bench for staff - and others.

Timeline

Staff and volunteers have been working in the school grounds for a number of years, including the planting by the reception area, in the woodland and the courtyard. They also look after planters.

  • In 2017/2018, (mainly Emma, Jo, Julian, Rebecca, Ruth but with lots of muscle from Mr Gunia), made a new ‘year 3 garden’. This has perennial and annual flowers, fruit and veg, a bug hotel, raised beds, a cold frame, mini greenhouse and new storage.

  • Since late 2018, volunteers have started a new ‘year 1 garden’. This will have ‘flower areas’, veg plots, places for pots and equipment, leaf bins and compost bins.

  • In early March 2019, school staff, with advice from Guy at the Council, had a working party with parent volunteers to re-vamp a woodland area in the school grounds. The aim being to make it safe and interesting to support school lessons. It was really successful and a happy day.

November 2017: making a start on the new school garden at Queen Edith's primary school.

November 2017: making a start on the new school garden at Queen Edith's primary school.

Cambridge Botanic Garden - Schools garden

The photo at the top of the page is from the new sign in the Schools Garden at Cambridge Botanic Gardens - a very inspiring place for anyone interested in gardening for, and with, children - and adults too.

Back of the Schools Garden sign - made by Rowan Cambridge

Back of the Schools Garden sign - made by Rowan Cambridge

Raised bed with mosaics, including found objects in local gardens

Raised bed with mosaics, including found objects in local gardens

Can grow plants - and crops - in simple tubs (make sure they have drainage)

Can grow plants - and crops - in simple tubs (make sure they have drainage)

Looking across the permanent herb garden - beds for planting are marked with low edging with bark (on weed-suppressant membrane) or paved paths between.

Looking across the permanent herb garden - beds for planting are marked with low edging with bark (on weed-suppressant membrane) or paved paths between.

For school gardening, it can be good to grow plants in 'families' - it helps with crop rotation too. Be a bit wary of growing sweet peas, which have toxic pods, alongside edible pod crops.

For school gardening, it can be good to grow plants in 'families' - it helps with crop rotation too. Be a bit wary of growing sweet peas, which have toxic pods, alongside edible pod crops.

Another 'family bed', which also has companion flowers - they look pretty too

Another 'family bed', which also has companion flowers - they look pretty too

Flowers are good to grow in school gardens - these were both flowering before the end of Summer term. The dahlias are, maybe, for a citizen science bumble bee counting project (we had them at Nightingale too).

Flowers are good to grow in school gardens - these were both flowering before the end of Summer term. The dahlias are, maybe, for a citizen science bumble bee counting project (we had them at Nightingale too).

RHS School gardening course - at Cambridge Botanic garden - July 2017

One of our garden volunteers went on this one-day course - and learned so much (and had a really fun time too). Here are just a few photos.

Alison from the RHS sowing seed along a home-made measuring stick

Alison from the RHS sowing seed along a home-made measuring stick

Part of the seed sowing session - how to make a proper plant label!

Part of the seed sowing session - how to make a proper plant label!

Re-usable seeds trays for making rainbow salad gardens to take home. Also small, water-saving, bottle top, 'watering cans'.

Re-usable seeds trays for making rainbow salad gardens to take home. Also small, water-saving, bottle top, 'watering cans'.

Seed sowing kit - the small coloured tubs are useful for allocating seed to sow. Clear plastic take-away cartons are also good for sowing and you can see the roots developing (make holes in the base). There is a 'pizza pot' hanging basket in the background - with tumbling tomatoes, basil, thyme (maybe) and (I think) an edible viola flower.

Seed sowing kit - the small coloured tubs are useful for allocating seed to sow. Clear plastic take-away cartons are also good for sowing and you can see the roots developing (make holes in the base). There is a 'pizza pot' hanging basket in the background - with tumbling tomatoes, basil, thyme (maybe) and (I think) an edible viola flower.

Larger seeds are easier for children to sow - these are probably radish or a brassica, which also germinate very quickly and can be eaten as spicy leaves - or grown on in deeper soil. Several short rows have been made with a pencil for different coloured plants to grow.

Larger seeds are easier for children to sow - these are probably radish or a brassica, which also germinate very quickly and can be eaten as spicy leaves - or grown on in deeper soil. Several short rows have been made with a pencil for different coloured plants to grow.

Paper potters can be used to make individual planting pots - or you can make your own kit with tin cans that sit inside each other (see photo below).

Paper potters can be used to make individual planting pots - or you can make your own kit with tin cans that sit inside each other (see photo below).

Children (and adults) can have fun making labels for their growing crops, in this case from cardboard.

Children (and adults) can have fun making labels for their growing crops, in this case from cardboard.

Taking cuttings into gel medium. Can see the roots growing - but they would be expensive for a whole class. Plastic milk bottles can be made into lots of things - I think this is a scoop but we also saw a carrying basket.

Taking cuttings into gel medium. Can see the roots growing - but they would be expensive for a whole class. Plastic milk bottles can be made into lots of things - I think this is a scoop but we also saw a carrying basket.

Links

Here are some good resources we have gathered:

Last updated: 5 March 2019