For everything to do with Ely St John's Nature GardenTM.

The Alpine Garden

P1050519For a while I've  wanted to make a garden of rock plants, so last summer I made a start.

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The bed had been a bit neglected for a while and it needed a lot of preparation work. 

I had to use a mattock and spade to loosen the soil, which was like rock. The excavated soil then had to be sieved to remove the stones.

Then a stone and wood structure was added to compartmentalise the bed.

Finally. plants could be planted. At the same time, after similar strenuous preparations, I replanted the rest of the bed. Altogether, it took about a fortnight to complete the job.

Read more: The Alpine Garden

Nature Garden Work Parties 2000-2006

NG Early Noughties 039You can really see the garden starting to develop in these pictures.

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The border hedge was planted in 2002, when the builders had finished the KS2 extension. The boundary of the garden had to be changed and we lost some ground on the south side but gained some on the north side. We also lost one of the two hillocks. I went with Mrs Draper to Littleport to collect the trees. She had a trailer and we dug up as many trees as would fit - all free. They had been bought for some millenium project that never happened. The only problem was it was July, not ideal for tree planting.. Consequently, I spent half the summer holiday watering the new plants, but it worked, as you can see. Only the oaks died, and that was because I had to cut off their tap root to get then out of the nursery bed.

I have also included some photos from Nature Club, which ran in its original form (i.e. free, just me running it) from 1998 to about 2010.

Read more: Nature Garden Work Parties 2000-2006

Nature Garden Work Parties 1998-2000

NG 038This was when it all began. I drew up a plan which went to governors, and the chair at the time, Peter Wickham, simply said go ahead. That was it. Who'd have thought that 20 years later we'd end up where we are now? If you were around at that time take a look at the photos and see if you can spot yourself.

The beds were laid out, the fence was put up and the pond was made. Notice it is before the KS2 extension was built. Basically, the garden still the same layout today.

Top helpers back then were the Browning, Hunt and Knott families, but there were many others who gave their time to get the project off the ground. The school owes them.

Perhaps some of those people, including the children who are now adults of course, will come along to the 25 years celebration this summer and see what their handiwork has turned into. I hope so,anyway.

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Read more: Nature Garden Work Parties 1998-2000