We are delighted that the Little Green Fingers Schools’ Project has been such a success since its conception in January 2008. All Infant and Primary School on the Island and Herm ( 22 in total ) both in the States and Private sectors are now included in the Project and most schools have some form of school garden and environmental areas.
The overall aims are to give as many children as possible the experience of gardening, to know where their food comes from and to respect their environment.
Some children do not have gardens at home so that it is important that they can get the thrill of growing things for themselves at school. We want to continue Guernsey’s Horticultural heritage. Today’s children are gardeners for the future.
Over the years we have made donations of equipment such as propagators, potato barrels, seeds, plants and trees. We are always pleased to assist with schemes, as funds allow. We have been instrumental in organising projects such as the no-dig eco garden at St Andrew’s Primary, makeover of a derelict pond at The Link Centre and the creation of ‘Nairn’s garden at Beechwood, Elizabeth College Junior with the help of Bedell Guernsey office volunteers. We approach these projects on a community basis and like to involve as many groups as possible such as PTA’s, Bloom Groups, Parents and helpers as well as the children. It is amazing what can be achieved in a short time with a joint effort. See our photographs of projects previously undertaken.
We have a huge network of contacts and can put schools in touch with experts that otherwise might not be known or available. Celebrity gardeners visiting the Island for other events are often persuaded by the Project to give some of their time to the children and schools have been treated to visits by James Wong, Alys Fowler, Diarmuid Gavin and Tony Kirkham from Kew Gardens.
We can arrange trips to commercial growers and organise bulb planting, No-Dig Gardening Workshops and Wiggly Worm Workshops for the little ones. We much appreciate our link with the States and Tina Ross, recycling Officer will be pleased to visit schools for presentations on composting or re-cycling. Andy McCutcheon, States Tree Officer, is delighted to arrange a ‘Walk in the Woods” sessions to learn about layering of the forest and to advise on tree planting. Phil Merrien and his team are more than willing to arrange workshops in their greenhouses or give advice.
Our competitions give the children a sense of pride in what they have achieved, a benchmark to aim for and Last term 7 schools competed for the prize of £1000 and a signed book from Alys Fowler.It was difficult to choose an overall winner as the standard was so high but our 2 judges, Phil Merrien, from States Parks and Gardens and Bob Paine from Guernsey Gardens announced the overall winner as Notre Dame du Rosaire Primary School and runners up Forest Primary school and St Sampson’s Infants school.
“Their enthusiasm is amazing and it is encouraging to see how far school gardening has progressed “ say’s Ann Wragg School Co-ordinator.
Earlier in the year Ann was been joined by Janine King, recently retired from the Education department and a much valued helper to the Gardening Club at Forest Primary School.
We were delighted with response to our Seminar “ Get your School Gardening Growing” which was arranged by the Bedell Group Little Green Fingers Schools’ Project in conjunction with the RHS Campaign for School Gardening on 22nd September 2012 at St Andrew’s Primary School. Two advisers from the RHS Campaign for School Gardening, Alison Findlay and Anne Gunning helped to give an inspirational and relaxed morning. A total of 15 schools was represented, including one from Jersey, with over 40 people attending. Gardening has been proven to have a calming effect on children and there are so many learning opportunities. We hope that our conference will give teachers the confidence to develop gardening in the curriculum and give inspiration and resources to develop their school grounds for future projects. On the previous Friday, Alison and Anne with the Floral Guernsey team also visited three schools to carry out fun workshops introducing the children to pollination, vegetable families and making pots from newspaper to plant up.
We can arrange trips to various facilities and workshops. Please contact Ann or Janine to arrange:-
- Guernsey Mushrooms ( Mondays or Fridays by prior arrangement)
- Guernsey Herbs ( Thursdays )
- Queux Patio Plants - Wiggley worm workshops and No-dig Workshops ( NB. These must be booked through us and not direct to benefit from the subsidised charges.)
- Bulb layering or Propagation Workshops at States Works, Plant and Gardens, Burnt Lane, St Martin’s including a visit to the greenhouses. ( Can include visit to Plant Health for smaller numbers)
- Walk in the Woods - visit to Bluebell Wood with States Tree Officer, Andy McCutcheon, to learn about all the layers in a wood and listen to the birds.
- Visit to the Guernsey Botanical Trust walled garden at Sausmarez Park - See the Victorian vegetable garden and restored greenhouses - visit the sunflower maze. ( Why not dress up in Victorian costume and combine with a history lesson or visit to Costume Museum).
- Do the Tree Trail at Sausmarez Park - learn all about the different trees that have been planted here. A good autumn activity to collect seed pods to start your own wood.
In 2008 all schools were donated a propagator by the Bedell Group Little Green Finger’s School Project. Are you using yours or is it lurking in the shed somewhere? Please ask for a leaflet to set it up again or contact us to visit to help or sort out replacement parts.
States Re-Cycling Officer, Tina Norman Ross, will be pleased to visit Schools to talk about composting and re-cycling - arrange with Janine or Ann.
We are able to put you in touch with various experts if you have a problem with your School garden or need assistance with your projects.
We are able to consider applications for funding of projects or supply of equipment/plants.
RHS Campaign for School Gardening
If you are not already registered please visit www.rhs.org.uk/children/for-schools. Do join their benchmarking scheme, it is a simple process and you can get prizes and lots of advice too. Register now online for their “ Get your grown-ups Growing’ Campaign and receive your free seed pack. Please contact us if you need any help with this or, following the Seminar, would like any resource packs.
The children really enjoyed making newspaper pots at the workshops and, once planted, can be put directly into the ground as the pot disintegrates without disturbing the new roots. We are obtaining a supply of the wooden paper potters and also the bottle top waterers which were just the right size for little fingers. These will be sent out to schools shortly.
Consider planting onion sets and garlic, broad beans, Swiss Chard and hardy annuals such as Sweet Peas.