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Published 2 years ago 30th June 2021 by Editor

A Place to Grow

This is our third summer enjoying the beautiful school garden in full bloom at St Mary’s CBS. We are so proud to see the boy’s hard work and dedication, to their projects, throughout the years come to fruition.

Sowing The Seeds

When we started planning our new school garden there were many factors to consider, especially as school closes in June and during the summertime we are all on holidays. We have proven however, that we can have a colourful, functional garden from September right throughout the summer and return in the autumn to a thriving , inviting outdoor space.

We have four main plots in our garden at St Marys. The first plot – our herb garden – was selected and carefully chosen to add colour, scent and taste to our outdoor space. The children planted the many herbs and learned about the various drinks or dishes they could be added to. Many children simply loved to stop and admire the fragrant array of the plants. Rosemary was our first choice. The children learned that this could be used for their spaghetti carbonara and chicken dishes. Aromatic Fennel for our fish dishes, refreshing mint for our water bottles & potatoes, lingering parsley, chives (which have the most beautiful purple flower heads), spring onions for our salads and most recently, we have planted our very own potatoes. It is fair to say our herb garden is thriving! The mint can take over a little bit as it has sporadic growth, so that needs to be maintained more carefully than the others. The herb garden also has an array of long grasses that can be used for the boys to feel and touch, providing soothing sensory feedback for children who enjoy that. To enjoy the herbs, we pick them, rub them between our fingers and then inhale their distinctive scent. Mint is by far our unanimous favourite!

Flower Power

Our middle plot is our magnificent, pretty flower garden. We sourced a variety of flowers from The Knick Knack Shop in Clonmel town centre. They were so helpful and informative about the different options and which flowers would work well, look good and complement each other. They also suggested perennials, which will come back annually, and they most certainly have. We are growing a selection of Dahlias, daisies, pansies, lavender, alliums, and much more. During the spring time, we had the most colourful daffodils, tulips and bluebells, which came from bulbs that were given to us by the Clonmel Tidy Towns.

Strong Shrubbery

Our third plot is our shrub garden; here we have a variety of low maintenance shrubs and flowers, which do not require too much input. Here, the children learn that all living things require space and independence in order to grow. Perhaps the highlight of this plot is our ambitious willow tree in the centre, whose growth has been phenomenal in recent years. Infact, we were fortunate enough to be able to plant two willow trees, both of which have come on in leaps and bounds.

Bees Business

Last year just before lockdown, Jack Bourke, a 5th Class Pupil, spent months completing The Schools Pollination Plan. This was a project our school undertook in conjunction with The Clonmel Tidy Towns. Jack prepared the soil with some of his classmates and he completed the project, which is now showcased in Clonmel Tidy Town’s window display in the Market Place. Jack conducted a vast amount of research on bees and how in our community and schools, we can save them.

This is our 4th and final plot in our school garden for Pollinators. It has brought to bloom a variety of tulips, daffodils, bluebells, wildflowers, alliums and much more throughout the past few months. It is a credit to all the classes and their teachers throughout the years; weeding, planting, painting beds, digging, sowing seeds, watering and endlessly nurturing our unique and invaluable school garden at St. Marys.

The end result is that we now have a garden especially for pollinators, that hosts a wide variety of wildflowers in the autumn. This ensures that the bees have a place to come and gather nectar to make their honey.

Clonmel Tidy Towns

We are hugely fortunate at St Marys to have a strong connection with Clonmel Tidy Towns through Deirdre Murray, who is part of our team. The sensory garden, a new project, at the front of the school is beginning to take shape and the children of the Cherry Blossom School are reaping the benefits of this wonderful asset welcoming wildlife, wildflowers, bug hotels, birds, bees and insects.

Our Next Steps

We are currently planning our next project, which again, is in line with Clonmel Tidy Towns, to become a more efficient, sustainable school. We are in the process of beginning to collect rainwater so that we can water our garden sustainably and efficiently and thus teach the boys how to be more resourceful and effective in their choices for a better environment. Litter picking is another concept in our plan. We have active litter pickers in school and we are heightening the boys’ awareness of stewardship and care for our environment. We hope that this will provide a solid foundation for the future, build healthy habits and in turn, filter down through the generations.

No Time To Rush

At St Marys, our students walk slowly through our garden. It is indeed a different pace to the classroom, but there are many lessons learned here still; the most important being that wherever we are planted, we must bloom. With a little water and a lot of love every plant and child will grow.

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