Wednesday, 24 October 2012


As the end of the competition draws near we have realised that what started out as a drive to win has evolved into a gardeners passion. Instead of looking to add things for impact and WOW factor we are nurturing and creating with the plants in mind. Not a day goes by where students don't check in on their growing plants and are heard discussing what to do next. I am permanently bombarded with suggestions, ideas and questions from students moving through the school grounds! Here's hoping they are as focused on other aspects of their learning ?!?

Perhaps the biggest lesson in this gardening project has been the key competency of PATIENCE. As everything has been recycled we couldn't just go out and buy straight away - we searched and asked and found - slowly! Plants grow at their own speed there is no amount of water, worm wee or compost that will hurry them along (trust us we tried!)

We also learnt to flexible in our plans. What started out as 100% edible turned into colourful, 'smelly' and sensory. Watching our Special needs learners interacting in the garden we saw how much they enjoyed the experience - especially feeling the plants. We adjusted the plans and added lamb's ears, mints, lavenders and other plants to touch. Inclusivity!

In all this waiting if we look back it is amazing to realise how much we have achieved together in such a short time.

June 2012

An unused and ugly section of our school field

October 2012

A garden is always a work-in-progress. What an amazing tool to teach students about sustained interests and efforts. Adjusting plans, problem solving and perseverance are all life lessons that come from working with an ever changing garden.

Although the bones of our garden are in, we have so much more planned. The concrete pad and wall are to become a greenhouse (using recycled plastic bottles), another creative mural is getting designed for the wall, the fence line needs to be planted up with passion fruit and other yummy climbers, a berry garden is to go somewhere?? and we have BIG plans for a natives walkway too.

Bringing the garden into the school is also on the students job lists. The iSTW team (I Save the World) have already established a Beneficial Bugs garden where Monarch Butterfly tagging has been somewhat successful. Fingers crossed this season is better - we have lots more Swan Plants ready for eating :) Their beautiful mural has just been unveiled and has created a buzz of excitement - such a gorgeous, eye catching design. Well done kids you are so talented!

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Special Thanks

Our garden has evolved into a living, breathing masterpiece -representing our values and passions! Our culture, heritage, whanau and school pride are evident in every design aspect,building material and hour of hard work put in. Looking around the redeveloped space has so many Papamoa touches, so many individual stories and warms the heart to know that most of all this garden represents the unity of our Papamoa community!

So many hands have helped, so many people have donated materials, so many services have been provided - each with positivity and enthusiasm to see this project succeed.
Our beautiful recycled cobble path - allowing access to the top of the 'mound garden'

Richard from The Finishing Touch who VERY kindly donated his time, expertise, equipment and materials on a SUNDAY!

 Here is Hob Thompson who created our gorgeous potting table and also the picnic table - using the recycled signage.
Pacifica without your weekly donation of coffee grounds and some wonderful seedlings we would have been much further behind.
Helen Davies from Papamoa Pet's Corner your labour and horse manure were much appreciated.
Keith from Tauranga Topsoil you really came to the party! Filling this much garden would have broke the bank without you.
Papamoa Landscaping your willingness to support our low/no carbon footprint garden was inspiring. Wheelbarrow power!
Not forgetting the parents, staff and children who have spent hours bent over planting, painting and weeding!

Thursday, 27 September 2012


Some inspiration for keen recyclers out there. Here are some of the ways we have reused items that would have ended up at the dump. If you have more ideas please add them in the comments section - we are always looking to learn new things!

* Tyres as retaining walls
* Crushed PET bottles to fill the side wall of the tyres
* Carpet offcuts under the tyres as weedmatting
* Leftover paint from the shed and community used to brighten up the tyres

Signs from Tauranga City Council

 Hob (an awesome grandfather at our school) took the donated signs and turned them into a potting table AND a picnic table! We are blown away at the successful outcome this recycling project has had - these tables would have cost us ALOT of our budget and now we have one of a kind masterpieces! Thank you Hob Thompson - You Rock! Watch this space he has more ideas...

Feet First Fence
We all have them - dead jandals that have been worn 'til they almost fall off your feet. Well we decided that we would use their bright colours and add some interest to our garden fence!  Attaching them with cable ties proved tricky but we got the job done and are going to hunt down HEAPS more during the holidays.
Amoungst the jandals are some well-used gumboots. A few Year 5's had great fun drilling holes at the bottom for drainage and we will plant them up.
Who would have thought of recycling footwear in a garden?!?! PAPAMOA DID!

Year 5 and 6's in Room 22 had a homework assignment - design and create garden labels using only recycled materials. The brief was simple - recycled and weather proof. These kids are very creative and the variety of label styles add interest and colour to our beautiful garden.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Getting growing

Finally there is some warmer weather - shhhh don't jinx it!! Our seedlings are growing strong and we are struggling to keep up with our VERY ambitious planting plan WHEW!
Peas and beans are are firm favourite with the snails and we have been looking at ways to solve this problem without chemicals - Any ideas or tips welcome!

The worm farm is thriving and is proving to be a popular attraction, with most students checking on them with interest and a little disgust:)

This week is the start of our FEET FIRST FENCE! Mr Mano's class will be drilling holes and hanging gumboots. Mrs McCracken and Mrs Travers' classes will be hanging the jandals. I think once they start the kids will see that we need HEAPS more to fill the space - it will be intersting to hear their suggestions to solve the problem.

Did everyone see our garden in the Bay News? Would have been great if the plants had been bigger - more green and less brown. Maybe Mr Whitaker the reporter/editor can come back and take another photo for a before and after story?

IN term 4 we are putting together a Garden Group that meets up on a Thursday at 12:30 and work with the children during lunch and class time. Vision Retirement are going to share their time and experience why don't you come along too? You don't need green fingers - it may just inspire you! First get together will be 18th October, little ones welcome.