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The School Allotment

July 23, 2015

Last week was the end of term at St Michael’s on the Mount primary school in the centre of Bristol and the allotment garden designed by Karena Batstone was full to bursting. It’s managed by several keen parents with help from the pupils who gather for inspiration in the cleverly designed sitting area to decide on what to plant. Surrounded by easy to manage raised beds it’s the best introduction a child could have to encourage an interest in gardening…DSCN4971The beds were full of beetroot …DSCN4965and dwarf French Beans …


and climbing beans under-planted with Little Gem lettuces …DSCN4962

and courgettes …


I took the photographs on the last day of term and was assured that the gardeners involved with the project would maintain the beds over the summer holidays. It was such an inspiration I sped off to the allotment and weeded for three solid hours.

At the Harbourside Festival in Bristol last weekend another of Karena’s designs was getting lots of attention.  The base had been cut from dozens of 2 litre plastic milk bottles then filled with soil and planted up to make a living roof and wall…



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The industrial metal supports were a great contrast with the naturalistic planting and this was further softened with the hay bale seating…

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At home the cut flowers this week were Clematis jackmanii and they lasted three days in water…


6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 23, 2015 6:51 pm

    I think school projects of this sort are so important to how we progress as a nation of gardeners – as you say, the inspiration affects not only the school aged pupils but also adults. Well done to Karena, she is adding such value to our social understanding of what horticulture can bring to communities.

  2. July 23, 2015 9:00 pm

    Hi Kate

    Yes I agree-gardening is a simple pleasure with huge benefits to anyone who engages with it and should be encouraged as early as possible.

  3. July 24, 2015 3:23 pm

    Those school raised beds look amazing, more terrifyingly good than inspiring. It is great that children are getting the chance to learn about gardening again in some schools.

  4. July 25, 2015 8:21 am

    Yes so immaculate I had to sort out the allotment fast. It was the last day of term so I guess it had been left in this pristine state. But it’s important to show children where the food on their plates comes from and that they too can learn the skill of allotment gardening.

  5. August 2, 2015 1:33 pm

    Is it the children that will be allowed back to maintain the beds during the holidays? I always thought it a shame that the school holidays prevented any school gardeners from enjoying the fruits of their labours but maybe it’s different at this school?

  6. August 2, 2015 2:00 pm

    The main gardener is a mum at the school and she will maintain it through the hols. But I think children learn to grow vegetables by example as much as anything and this gives them confidence to have a go both at school and at home. The beetroots will be cropped in early september but beans and courgettes will be picked throughout the school hols.

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