When parent Anna Gardner sadly passed away last year leaving two young daughters, Rebecca Roberts, Head Teacher at Chorleywood Primary School, realised that it would be beneficial to have an area at the school where children could sit quietly away from the hustle bustle of the school playground. Cue School Gardening Co-ordinator Claire Davies and the development of a Thinking Garden.
“The idea was to create a quiet area where children could sit and contemplate. We fenced off a plot and have been working on it since spring. The project has a long time scale because of so many different processes and various planting times plus the children being involved means we are restricted to their availability. Such a hot summer didn’t help either.”
There are distinct sensual elements – sounds created by chimes hanging from tree branches, rustling leaves and running water, smell and taste are linked to fragrant herbs and as for sight it’s all about colour, a big rainbow made up from flowers of each colour of the spectrum makes a strong visual statement. The garden will be teaming with wildlife like bugs, frogs and birds, encouraged by nesting boxes and feeders.
“We have planted 400 saplings donated by The Woodland Trust and scattered woodchips given by a local tree surgeon” adds Claire, “He has given us recycled timber to make natural seating too. There will also be a bench in the garden dedicated to Derek Frankland who had been a school governor for thirty years.”
An important part of the design is the pebble sculpture.
“Every child has written a saying, a poem or a memory on a stone, we have varnished them and will make them into a sculpture then we will add a sundial in memory of Anna.”