Back in September, secondary school students from around the country began a 10 week challenge to design a garden for their school or local community as part of Green Plan It 2017. This allowed them to get a glimpse into horticultural careers, to explore community needs and environmental issues, and covers several curriculum areas too. School Teams were paired with an industry mentor, such as a landscape architect, head gardener or plant scientist, who worked with them throughout the project and gave them inside knowledge regarding plants and landscaping. Groups chose a particular area within their school or community to renovate, carrying out research and making a 3D model of the finished design.
After 10 long weeks it was finally time for our team entry to be judged at Easton & Otley Awards Day. There were lots of teams and very diverse entries of models. It was not only the models to be judged, it was the pitch presentation as well, a kind of mini Apprentice. It would be fair to say Mr MacDonald and Mrs Beasley would both agree, Lord Sugar would have been proud of the Northgate team. The confidence they demonstrated and of course teamwork throughout the 10 weeks was amazing.
The day was not only judgement day, it was also an activity day, planting bulbs and decorative pots. A couple of the planters will be donated to the Dementia Friends, with which Northgate has a special link. There was also a horticultural quiz which we were proud to win with our entry team “Hendry’s”
So, why the name? It was decided by the group we would have a fitting tribute to our former student and soldier, Lewis Hendry, who was sadly killed, fighting for his country in Afghanistan. The garden would become his memorial and a peaceful area for students to reflect, enjoy and a place to share stories just what a school needs an area for thoughts and mindfulness.
The garden had ideas of sensory and strong structure of bamboo, lovely benches to sit on and smells of Norfolk lavender. The centre piece was a large winged horse “Pegasus” the emblem of the parachute regiment Lewis Hendry served with. Support was given by our mentor, Tamara Bridges, who is a garden designer and was Chelsea Flower Show winner in 2015.
We were proud of our entry and the students participating, hopefully the garden will become a reality in the future. We also did a radio interview with BBC Radio Norfolk – you can hear some of the interview here (listen from 1min 50 to hear our mentor Tamara and then Paul who was part of the team):
Kian and Brad were two of the students who took part in the project. They both said, ‘we learnt about horticulture which was quite interesting and it’s not just about plants. The best bit about the project was building the model of the garden and working as a team. We were working with people who are not normally in our classes.’ Brad said that he enjoyed building the model from wood, wool, stones and other materials and found the practical element most interesting, whilst Kian felt that he is now more confident in talking in front of groups of people. Both boys felt the project was definitely worthwhile and they gained a lot from it.