Garden design Bristol, Somerset & London
The layout needed to provide adequate space for the schools to work safely and comfortably; likewise that unsupervised visitors - parents and children alike - could walk, play and run around safely.
Based on traditional square-foot planting techniques for optimal space, the grids included companion plants (culinary herbs and edible flowers) to introduce principles of natural pest control and plant health. The companions were placed to create a framework for the children to plant their vegetable seedlings, using the drawings as guides.
Companion planting is an age-old tradition of combining plants for optimal health. The benefits include increased pollination, improved soil health and nutrition, weed suppression, the attraction of positive predators, creating decoys, limiting infestation through diversity, and chemical inhibition. It is not a failsafe cure-all but in a well-balanced garden it is fascinating to watch it evolve, and it looks beautiful too.
The herbs were purchased in 9cm pots; small plants are highly cost-effective in Spring and also have the best survival rates. I potted them up into 1-2 litre pots and left them to bulk up for a fortnight before transplanting into the garden. The children transplanted their seedlings the following week, using the planting plans for guidance.
The companion plants were also a secret back-up plan in case the children's seedlings failed. We needn't have worried: the vegetables were overflowing within four weeks, without a pest in sight.
"Caroline brought an incredible amount of passion and knowledge to the project. She was brilliant at listening to what we wanted and translating it into reality, and added a few inspired ideas of her own. As a result, part of our car park was transformed into a wonderful garden for kids and grown-ups alike that really helped us to explore the environmental themes so close to Beatrix Potter’s heart."
Caroline Brown, Assistant Curator, River & Rowing Museum