Recently 4 of us went over the water to visit the West Cork Garden Trail. We saw and heard from remarkable people doing lovely things. It cannot be denied we fell a little in love with the emerald isle. I got the chairperson perks of cutting a giant ribbons for the local school Geodome project.
In all these years I have not seen such a well thought out garden project. Not only was it functional, beautiful but very much sustainable, relying on the enthusiasm and energy of the local community. If you want to take a look at what they are doing, how much they spent and how they intend to proceed into the future? we have it all. We have been given all the relevant documents and will keep them as a resource on our site. The school would love to hear from you.
St. Patrick’s Boys’ National School Skibbereen
Official Opening of Garden & Geodome 10th September 2016
Origins of Our Garden
The staff of St. Patrick’s B.N.S. started a discussion less than a year ago about how to further develop the area of ground behind the school. The original idea was to build a number of raised beds into the slope. From this starting point, the idea of a school garden evolved and bloomed. Teacher Brian Granaghan has designed an exciting and multi-faceted garden which we are so proud to share with the public today.
On February 26th 2016, work began on our garden. Local gardening expert Mark Lee carried out the initial work to develop the garden layout. Since that date, we are amazed at the progress which has been made thanks to staff, children, parents and the wider community. Key Elements of our Garden
Geodome – we believe we are the first primary school in the country with its own geodome. Our geodome enables us to grow fruit and vegetables all year round. It allows us to experiment with exotic plants: we are growing pineapple, banana, tea, avocado and many more. We have our Venus Fly Traps and even our own mini paddy field for growing rice. It provides fantastic educational opportunities and introduces the children to a wide range of possibilities for planting and growing, cooking and eating. The geodome, circular in nature, has a teaching area in the centre and has raised beds circling the interior of the dome for planting and growing. Raised Beds – we have 10 raised beds – one for each class. Each class gets to grow something different so that by the end of their time in St. Patrick’s, each child will have grown a variety of plants and vegetables.
Sensory Garden – Our Sensory Garden has a Sensory Path which leads from one end of the garden to the other. It is divided into a number of different sections, each with a different surface e.g. bark mulch, gravel, stone, logs etc. We also have a Zen Garden where we can rake and play with the sand. On either side of our sensory path are our planting areas where we can grow various plants, shrubs and crops.
Willow Dome & Tunnel – The boys from 3rd & 4th class, under the guidance of Lucy Bell, built our willow tunnel and dome. Over the next year and a half this will grow to give us an enjoyable and fun place to play and learn.
Amphitheatre – We have built an amphitheatre which will act as an outdoor classroom. All we need now is some good weather!!!
*Wild Trai*l – We have made a simple wild trail behind our prefabs where we can observe wild flowers and grass as well as insects and small creatures
Insect Hotel – we have built a simple insect hotel out of pallets. We have filled each tier with a different material for bugs to use to make their homes. It’s ideal for classes to visit to see little creatures up close.
Woodland Area – we are lucky to have a small area with mature trees. We have put some bird houses in here and it is a beautiful sheltered area within the garden.
What Comes Next??
Wormery & Composting Areas – we will be building a wormery and composting area so that we can make our own compost for growing.
Orchard – we plan to plant an orchard this year so that we can grow our own apples, pears and other fruit.
Native Hedging – we plan to plant a number of different varieties of native hedging along the perimeter fence at the back of our school.
Mini-Forest – we will plant a number of trees close together to make a mini forest.
*Herb Wheel*–we will build a herb wheel so that we can grow a variety of herbs.
Water Feature – we want to introduce a water feature to our garden.