Monday, 4 May 2009


Our garden is an outside classroom. A place of experiences to look, touch, smell and enjoy fresh air, warm breezes and the occasional sharp shower. It is a place for getting hands dirty, and the satisfaction of planting a tiny seed and seeing it grow to a wonderful plant.
We use it to give vocational experience,for enrichment and to deliver Edexcel units such as Producing a Product ,Working Together ,Health and Safety.

A college garden is not an easy place to manage.
The initial costs for an accessible garden can be high The paths must reach high standards so that everyone can access it and providing these is expensive . As the garden develops greenhouses and sheds are built and surrounded by fences with expensive locks

The most important thing is that someone e.g. a lecturer has to take overall charge of the provision, preferably with some remission in teaching hours for this job. Like a workshop or a catering kitchen the garden will need technician support. Not every job can be done by the student. The garden must be nurtured through the summer holidays and coldest months of winter.
A budget for the garden is a must. The lawn mower needs maintaining and plants/seeds purchased.Of course there is always the chance that as soon as you have it up and running your Senior Management team will take it away for a new building!

Places to look for ideas for your garden:

Sensory Garden from Sensory Uk ltd has lists of plants for the senses and a good definition of a sensory garden.

The Butterfly garden An independent organisation working with schools and adults with learning disabilities. The site has lots of pictures on their project which should inspire you Including:

Tarmac paths

A portable garden for wheel chair users £395 from C.Lewis Fabrications.

See the portable garden being used in this picture

For buying seeds:
Chiltern Seeds

For information about what plants to grow and how Growability

has a link page under Horticulture

I like their link to

The Plants page has lots of picture links and well presented information about plant size

From the library look at :The Ultimate Garden Designer Tim Newbury. It has a page showing a garden designed for People with a Learning Difficulty and a garden for the Blind or partially sighted. Both feature a design and a list of suggested plants for the garden.

The Growing Zone a new allotment project for school students and people with learning difficulties. Its Contributors page and Link page show where their funding comes from and may give you some ideas.

Gardening Symbol from Imagine Symbols

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