It’s been a dynamic year in the Brookfield green spaces with new infrastructure projects, soil improvement, hundreds of seedlings grown, and some student-led research for the future of rewilding the school.
The quiet area garden has seen clematis, passionflower, hostas, ferns, jasmin, mint, herbs, wildflowers, grasses, and more planted to bring new life to the space. The bees are also very happy with a salvia hot lips at the back entrance of the school alongside a black elderflower to complement the towering purple of the existing verbena.
Importantly, a lot of the plant choices were guided not only by sun aspect and soil condition, but also what the students wanted! The school’s Eco-Committee went from class to class asking what plants, colours, textures and activities their fellow pupils wanted to see and be part of in Brookfield’s green spaces.
A Community Day in June really helped to push things along in the garden with parents, pupils and staff coming together to add new compost into large pots for planting, re-build the veg patch bed, and improve soil drainage and quality. In the summer term two tonnes of compost has been integrated into the green spaces which has drastically improved soil texture and fertility and builds a strong platform for increasing future re-wilding activities.
With a proposal from Forest School leaders to make an outdoor learning zone in the playground, and Year 4 pupils writing to the headteacher campaigning for a secret garden area, plans are afoot for developing a forest garden in the school. Staff, parents, pupils with governor support are taking next steps to redesign a section of the playground with food growing, nutrient cycle infrastructure, and forest school activities. A fantastic trip to Super Bloom really got people inspired for this development with cornflowers and Californian poppy a bit hit.. Watch this space!
Rewilding and gardening activities have been integrated into the school curriculum with the new Forest School Gardener Rob who started in late March this year. Highlights have included:
- Learning about how potatoes self-propagate by playing drama games and chitting potatoes with Year 5
- Growing ingredients with Year 3 for their Summer Rolls
- Herb learning walk in Waterlow Park with Year 2
- Growing plants from seed for the Reception class Plant Sale
We’ll be hosting another community day in September to prepare the green spaces for some over-winter green manures, autumn bulb planting, new areas of wild flowers, and mulching the plants for winter.
This is a great example of greening the grey. Brookfield school has very little green space. The playground is mainly tarmac. The school has received a grant and with help from us, we have created a design plan for how to green the grey.
We will be drilling into the tarmac to plant a series of beautiful espaliered fruit trees all around the playground. Growing trees in the espalier method is a great idea for a school which has tarmac and very little spare space.
The site manager has been a really important part of planning this design. Note to all you teachers reading this: get your site manager onside! Brookfield is also recruiting a forest school teacher to link rewilding to the school curriculum and really help pupils connect with nature.
Finally, Brookfield is receiving Camden Forest fruit trees and helping to grow the Camden Meadow by giving out wildflower seeds to students and sowing the seeds at the school. Great work!