Going back to school after a prolonged lockdown could be unsettling for students and helping them make a symbolic fresh start is the formal opening of the Garnishing Grove at Farm Cove Intermediate on Thursday.
Planting the first olive tree in the community garden that students along with landscapist Lance Millward helped create is Pakuranga PM Simeon Brown.
“This is a legacy that you are leaving behind for generations to come. When you grow old, your grandchildren will come here and you can tell them you designed this garden,” Brown told envirogroup and food technology students.
Linda Harvie, principal of Farm Cove Intermediate said the location of the garden next to the Food and Bio room is of special significance. “Like in MasterChef, children can run out in the garden to get a herb or edible flower whilst cooking,” she says.
The idea behind the newly-landscaped community garden – which was once just a patch of dirt with a flagpole – is health and wellbeing of students, said assistant principal Tamara Jones.
“Their wellbeing has been a concern to us and so we thought of doing something special in the first week of school after lockdown,” Jones said.
“This is a student-led initiative with our students designing the grove end of last year. The grove is a resource for the community to come and pick up garden-fresh herbs and fruit. The school is utilising local businesses and being supported by our local MP.”
Twelve-year-old Skyfi Lin, who created a 3D design of the grove, said the best part is the final design which is an amalgamation of designs submitted by students.
Year 8 student Finlay Newton said they fundraised $6000 for the garden by organising mufti days, a school disco and a wheelathon last year.
The school’s board of trustees will make a contribution to match the funds collected by students.
Lance Millward, a professional landscape architect with Verdant Green, and a school parent is proud of the fact that a dead space (with two camphor trees) has now been transformed.
“We have set up bench seats around the garden so that children can come and enjoy it. There will be white chips laid out and carving done by me on the totem pole that parents helped install,” he says.
“It’s a great experience to have students submit their designs and finally see it all come together.”