Happy New Year!! We are pleased to bring you fantastic news in our final blog. The Sensory Garden is complete and ready for opening very soon. Following on from the tremendous work on re-establishing the school pond and decking platform (click here to see previous blog), and despite further setbacks following inclement weather (including fallen trees and a broken fence) our team and contractors (materials were sourced from Playground Imagine
ering) were not deterred and set about in a flurry of activity in the New Year.
The planting tyres (including a hand painted Minion) were re-homed to make space for twelve large, lined wooden planters, installed along one side of the garden, each to be tended by a different class or year group. In addition, a three tiered planter has been located behind the gazebo, one of the garden's sunspots. Following some surface excavation, four natural log benches, each weighing an impressive 300kg, have been anchored in the centre of the site, along with two large curved picnic tables, creating an outdoor classroom. A number of sensory panels and an acrylic mirror have been added to the newly painted gazebo and a very exciting bug hotel constructed
from pallets, with an array of fillers to encourage a variety of insect life – the first earwigs have already taken up residence. For the more reflective moments, there is a spiral stepping-stone maze, designed to calm and distract. Finally, there is a beautiful carved arch welcoming children and visitors to the new AHPS Sensory Garden, and the addition of a large water butt and compost bin to encourage self-sufficiency and eco awareness.
The area was designed to maximise use of the space designated by the school whilst also keeping in mind the brief they had given about how they wished to use the garden – not as an extension of the play area, but as an active ‘out of the classroom’ learning space and meditation area. As this side of the school grounds includes several large protected trees, we also had to be mindful of these and consider the limited sunspots in the garden. Where possible, we also tried to incorporate ideas from selected plans that the students had drawn up last year, and we hope the school will continue to expand on these and add to the garden in the future.
The finishing touches will be added as the weather improves. These include a final jet wash of the path, wind chimes and spinners, adding fishes to our pond and filling each of the boxes with compost and seedlings. We have various ideas about the usage of the planting boxes, aimed at stimulating the different senses and providing hands-on learning for the children, and will share these with the teachers to help maximise these resources.
We hope you will all get a chance to see the efforts in due course and of course, add to the FOAH efforts with any additional ideas and resources. We are sure the school will welcome any support in maintaining the space and we encourage any green fingered volunteers with knowledge to help the garden grow.
Many thanks as ever for your support and patience, we look forward to the Sensory Garden becoming an integral part of the Avanti school day.
FOAH Sensory Garden Team