Chichester school’s garden makeover

Staff from Fordwater Schiool and staff from Hilliers Garden Centre who helped plan the sensory garden.''Contributed pic.
Staff from Fordwater Schiool and staff from Hilliers Garden Centre who helped plan the sensory garden.''Contributed pic.

Pupils at Fordwater School in Summersdale can now enjoy pretty flowers and growing their own vegetables after a major revamp of the school’s sensory garden.

The project was undertaken by the school’s very own ‘Groundforce’ team of teachers, with help from Hilliers Garden Centre in Emsworth.

Liz Meek, who worked on the garden, said: “A small group decided to take it. There was just nothing in here really, just the pond and we thought, what a shame, it’s such a waste and we had no one using it at all.

“We didn’t really know what to do so we got in touch with Hilliers and they came along and helped draw up some plans.”

Centre manager Nigel Budgen and Harsha Desai helped devise the plan, then the group got stuck in to laying a path and planting a variety of bulbs and other plants. The garden, which was already home to some mature trees, now has a proper path which leads to a paved area which is also suitable for wheelchairs which will eventually be turned into a storytime zone.

The garden also features a series of raised beds, also fully accessible, which means everyone in the school can get involved in the garden while plants such as black bamboo, ferns and grasses were added for their sensory qualities such as the way they feel and the sound they make in the breeze.

In the spring the garden will be awash with colour thanks to lots of flowers and this year potatoes, peas, beans and herbs were planted.

Other features include some borders and benches with a pergola for climbing plants. There is also a cabin which the team hopes to clear so it can be used for things like stories even if the weather is not so good.

Mrs Meek said: “We’ve also planted a camomile lawn which the children can sit on and feel which will be really lovely. We hope to make it a bigger in future and we are also looking at doing a memorial area for children who have passed away.

“One of the parents gave us some money to use for that and we are thinking of planting a tree and some way of having all the names.”

She said the garden was not finished yet, and there were still some work to do, but the hard bits had been done.

“The children have helped clear leaves and do some weeding and we hope next term when the weather is better we can get more classes out here.”

n Staff and pupils went down to the Market Cross in Chichester for the Children in Need fundraising campaign. Accompanied by violin and guitars, they sang their hearts out and raised more than £800.

Headteacher Sue Meekings said well done and thank you to all those who took part and contributed.