Saint Mary’s Gardening Club
As a school, we are registered with the RHS Campaign for School Gardening, which aims to encourage and support schools to develop and actively use a school garden.
We are at level 4 (sharing best practice) and working towards the top level, level 5 (celebrating with the wider community), which we hope to achieve soon.
A typical year in the school garden
Autumn: From September to December, our young gardeners harvest produce sown & grown earlier in the year e.g. beans, carrots, tomatoes and potatoes.
Our extensive orchard provides us with pears, plums and many varieties of apples.
We collect windfalls and send these to make Congleton Apple Juice. Many are eaten by the children on club nights. The apples are made into fresh juice at school with a press we borrow from Congleton Sustainability Group. The children sell excess apples to parents. Parents have made apple chutney, apple turnovers and apple bread for us to try. We have typically collected 300-450 kg apples each autumn.
We leave the grass to grow long in the orchard to encourage wildlife and increase biodiversity in our school grounds.
We have many different herbs growing as we like the smell when we touch the leaves.
The children plant mixed winter pansies, salad leaves, garlic and spring onions in the beds.
We harvest the seeds from a variety of flowers for us to sow in the spring.
We also go outside to look in the school grounds to see what is growing and living there.
In autumn, we collect leaves and twigs to made pictures and forest crowns.
If it is very wet outside, there are indoor gardening activities, e.g. sowing seeds or planting bulbs into pots, garden art and crafts.
Spring & summer: From February to July, our young gardeners plant seeds and seedlings into the school garden, weed the beds & orchard, look after the bug hotels and harvest lots of strawberries and raspberries. We love to see the wildflowers, sunflowers, marigolds, borage and poached egg plants, which attract bees and butterflies. These insects pollinate our fruit and vegetable plants.
Competitions: Our young gardeners go out into the community. We have been out to plant flowers at the Siemens factory several times. We send gardeners to plant up small containers for the town centre and the RHS Tatton Flower Show on behalf of Congleton In Bloom. In autumn 2014, all the children in saint Mary’s planted five daffodil bulbs in the grass verge near Tesco. The spring display was appreciated by parents and the general public who pass the spot daily.
In 2014 and 2015 our garden club and class 5 designed and created small gardens, which were on show to the public in the polytunnel adjacent to Congleton Park.
In 2015, our school garden was awarded Best School Garden in Congleton by Congleton & District Horticultural Society. Our school garden has also been shown to the RHS judges as part of the Congleton In Bloom tour in 2014 & 2015, helping Congleton win gold medals form the RHS.
Curriculum: Our school garden with all the fruit, flowers, herbs and vegetables that we grow, provides our teachers the opportunity to go outside and show their classes real plants and a variety of habitats.
We store our tools and other garden equipment in our shed. We work in the greenhouse or outdoors depending on what jobs we have to do.
Publicity: We do take photos of the children in the school garden. The local newspaper often visits to take photos to show the public what we are doing
At Saint Mary’s Garden Club, your child will learn how to grow food and flowers,
use tools, plan and work as part of a team safely.
All children, parents & carers welcome
Head Gardener: Patti Pinto
When? Wednesdays from 3.15 to 4.15pm
Cost: £2.50 per child per week, £1.25 per child per week if accompanied by an adult
You will need to wear suitable outdoor clothes & footwear (wellies if possible)
and be prepared to get dirty!
Saint Mary’s Garden Club Code
- Look after the plants and animals in our school garden.
- Please wear old clothes and suitable boots or shoes for working in the garden.
- Change quickly and be ready for the start of the gardening club.
- Use tools safely and return them to the tool shed.
- Always walk (not run) in the school garden.