Mindful of the proven benefits of gardening for health and well-being, pupils are now being allocated a timetabled session in the garden once a week. The garden is undergoing a significant make-over. The existing gazebo will have guttering attached and a path built for access. This will enable the area to be used in any weather for small groups. Donated stone will be used in front of the greenhouse to create circles in a new quiet area for pupils to use for relaxation and meditation. (This is one of several quiet areas planned for around the school grounds). Sleepers will improve existing raised beds, as well as being used to create new areas for pupils to plant and look after fruit, vegetables and flowers.

The BMS garden offers a wealth of opportunity for pupils, not only to boost well-being – so important during and after the pandemic, but also to start to understand gardening skills that they may use later in life. Three ex-Birchensale pupils, decided to develop their knowledge further by going on to study at Pershore Horticultural College. Pupils’ Maths skills will be improved by marking out and measuring in the garden and teamwork will be very important too – not to mention overcoming the fear of bugs for some pupils!

Mr. Freeman has been working hard studying the ‘Charles Dowding No Dig Organic Gardening System’. Pupils will be growing tomatoes, sweetcorn, runner beans, beetroot, broad beans and purple potatoes; taking part in a class competition to see who can look after their plants the most successfully and produce the best harvest! The orchard and soft fruit plants will also be looked after by pupils, as well as the ‘Sunflower Competition Area’

Whilst developing the plans for the garden, Mr Freeman has found a really useful website that he would like to recommend to other budding gardeners among the BMS community. The Sunday Gardener is an independent website packed full of gardening advice, tips, seasonal information and pages of practical gardening information. You can visit the free source of advice – especially for new gardeners at The Sunday Gardener.