Make do and mend | Love The Garden

Make do and mend

John Clowes's picture
By John Clowes, Gardening Guru
Minety Pre School pupils enjoyed sowing up a dress for their suffragette figure
Minety Pre School pupils enjoyed sowing up a dress for their suffragette figure

Suffragette's dress completed by Minety Pre School pupils
Suffragette's dress completed by Minety Pre School pupils

Registrations of schools growing for Chelsea have closed and all the seeds have been distributed.

Thankfully the weather has turned milder and spring is just around the corner. Miracle-Gro’wers report they are sowing and growing their plants for Chelsea with enthusiasm and taking the opportunity to learn about the various gardening eras that will form our 2013 flower show theme. I’m happy to report that all age-groups are contributing to the look of the garden with some exciting display ideas.

Pupils of Minety Pre-School, Malmesbury, Wilts, have been busy sowing seeds and making and dressing a suffragette figure for the 1913 garden. Nimble under-5 fingers have sown a dress and dyed it with their own veg dye made in class by the pupils. How enterprising!

For the 40’s garden, Chaucer School, Ilkeston, Derbys, has found an old tin bath in which to grow ‘Homeguard’ potatoes and poppies. This concept reminded Peter Seabrook that when he was a child his tin bath was filled just once a week for the whole family - children were washed first, Mum second and last Dad. There was no report whether Dad was cleaner after or before!

Pupils of Chaucer School dress as evaquees for 1940's inspiration
Pupils of Chaucer School dress as evaquees for 1940's inspiration

Tin Bath ready for Homeguard potato display
Tin Bath ready for Homeguard potato display

Chaucer promise the bath will be liftable without the help of four firemen, for they appreciate that transporting big, heavy items to Chelsea is always our biggest problem. Bearing weight and volume in mind, we have had a couple of offers to provide pieces of an Anderson air-raid shelter to provide a visual reminder of how domestic gardens needed to be used to protect the civilian population. Our thanks to the pupils of Chaucer Junior School, Ilkeston, Derbys and to Flore Primary in Northampton for working on this shelter concept. We wish you luck.

The 1970’s garden has inspired the pupils of Corelli College to design and produce an appropriate curtain that will enhance the patio door frame that we hope to position at the back of the garden. The senior pupils there are also looking at some innovative hanging baskets and containers for eye-catching patio living that could include glitter balls, space hoppers and the like. We are still looking for some 70’s plastic furniture for that garden, so please get searching. We are also looking for schools to produce a couple of life size ‘Flower-Power’ characters to “man” the stand.

The 2013 garden is less of a challenge although we would like to have some props to show a modern image. Our designer is hoping to have some black solar panels on show - not the real thing, but cardboard and paint replicas of same. Also we hope that a school growing for 2013 will be able to come up with a wind turbine – preferably a horizontal spiral design rather than aircraft propeller shape and again cardboard painted silver should look just as good as metal and not so heavy. The move to hands-off technology we hope to illustrate with a Robotic lawnmower. Can we borrow one from a parent who is happy to cut the grass manually for a week or so?

Thanks to all the Miracle-Gro’wers who are looking after plants during the Easter break. With schools breaking up for a fortnight this is a key time to make sure watering won’t be forgotten and that protection from frost is in place just in case of freezing overnight weather.

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