Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Plant a native garden

I have just been helping plan and plant a small native garden.

The idea of developing small native garden in the school grounds makes an ideal integrated inquiry study. And the time and weather is right for the task.

The ideal garden could feature mainly smaller alpine natives as there are a wonderful range of plants to choose from.

If you are interested first find a suitable site - open and sunny is the best. Measure it up to work out how many square metres you have.

Then start your research.

What plants might be suitable? Who could help you? There are a a number of suitable books with good photos and information to get ideas from. Another idea is to look around your environment to see similar gardens and capture their ideas with a digital camera. Note how close they are planted and maybe you will see that often plants are planted in groups. Maybe there is a parent or local who can help you select plants

Draw up a list of suitable plants ( with digital photos) and display on class wall. Do some research on selected plants.

Now to involved in some more mathematics. When you find your source of plants you will get an idea of the costs involved. How will you go about finding the money? Maybe the BOT can help you or you could get involved in some fundraising?

Possibly it is a good idea to start small and restrict yourselves to fifteen or twenty plants. With small natives look for ones with interesting shapes as well as flowers.

When you have you plants the fun begins.

By now you will have begun to develop some real knowledge about your plants -mainly how big they grow or spread.

Place then out and move them around until you are happy. This might be a good time to have a little local expertise to call on.

Learn how to plant them properly and finish the job.

Over the next months ( or years) watch them grow.You will soon find out which ones really like where you have planted them and you might have to replace the odd one.

It is fun watching how gardens turn out and by now you will have learnt a lot about plants. Maybe some of you might like to become botanists or landscape artists?

The class might even like to begin to propagate some plants of their own -many grow from cuttings but you will need to do your own research. This is real learning.

Maybe you could make study of a local piece of bush and even begin to care for it?


Anonymous said...

Real tasks like planning and planting a garden are what students should be involved in. Such a great lot of lessons to be learnt in the process.

Bruce Hammonds said...

Couldn't agree more.

MJC said...

We have planted a Peace Garden at our school with all native plants. It is a place the students love. We combined groups and levels to make it something that would not be vandalized. Here in Canada, Evergreen.ca is a great source for information and grants.

This is a real life lesson that students who graduated return to discuss with us. Also, when our Peace Symposium speakers address our school, we plant something in their honour. Our garden is loaded with meaning.

I love it.

Bruce Hammonds said...

Thanks Michelle - nice to know you read my blog in Canada. The idea of your peace garden sounds great.

MJC said...

You are welcome. I have also shared your blog link over to other educators. I am not on often, but when I can I will contribute.

Our garden is lovely and it is one of the finest pieces of enduring authentic instruction that I have been able to do. Everything from calculations, to toxicity, to writing a business plan, proposals, problem solving: it is a wonderful thing.