Tour an English School Garden
At the charming Charlton Manor Primary School outside London, inner-city schoolchildren learn to garden and discover a love of nature thanks to one enterprising principal.
An Ordinary School?
Hardly. Thanks to the vision of head of school Tim Baker, who has led the Charlton Manor Primary School in an inspiring gardening program, students at this inner-city school learn to grow and even cook their fruit and vegetables. The program includes two in-house chefs who help children cook the produce they grow. Charlton Manor plants are often featured at the annual prestigious Chelsea Flower Show in London.
Head of South East London Charlton Manor Primary School Tim Baker has created an incredible school garden where schoolchildren learn to grow, cook and even sell the plants and vegetables they grow.
Open Garden Squares Weekend
On one weekend each summer, England's Open Garden Squares Weekend features hundreds of unique gardens like the Charlton Manor Primary School garden to highlight the diversity of incredible garden projects sprouting up across the country.
An elegant metal gate keeps the schoolyard garden secure when not in use.
The schoolchildren at the Charlton Manor Primary School in South East London maintain an impressive schoolyard garden and even sell their produce at a school vegetable stand.
Gorgeous pink clematis winds up the arbor at the Charlton Manor Primary School.
Fruits of Their Labor
In addition to growing fruit and vegetables the students at the Charlton Manor Primary School keep chickens and bees and sell their eggs and honey to raise money for the school.
Designing With Children in Mind
It's easy to see why this school garden is such a beloved refuge for children. Spaces like this one, where a natural "teepee" creates a dense, verdant hiding place for children to play, illustrate the power of designing a space with children in mind.
The variety of plants, flowers and edibles grown at the once derelict Charlton Manor plot, is extraordinary. In addition to kiwi, shown here, the school produces cut flowers so beautiful they have won silver at the annual Chelsea Flower Show.
England School Yard Garden
Lovely sweet peas grow in the Carlton Manor Primary School garden.
The school has a greenhouse and plenty of space to start seedlings so children can learn about the entire life cycle of plants.
An on-site greenhouse allows delicate citrus plants to overwinter, safe from England's cold winters.
Circle of Life
Greenhouse-grown plants await transplanting.
Charlton Manor caddies keep plants organized and portable.
Reflection in Nature
Typifying the holistic English approach to gardening, the Charlton Manor garden is not only designed to be productive, but also reflective, beautifully-designed and place of refuge and reflection. Inner-city children who might not have ready access to green space are able to enjoy nature on many different levels in their school garden.
London schoolchildren at Charlton Manor Primary School learn about composing, vermiculture and the entire life cycle of growing things and enriching the soil in their school's progressive, inspiring agriculture program.
Students learn to compost school waste and watch it turn into useful fertilizer for their garden.
Cabbage Patch Kids
One of the most charming features of the Charlton Manor Primary School garden is the tiny kitchen with low sinks and countertops designed as an ideal place for small children to prepare healthy meals with their garden produce. In addition to growing food, the children learn techniques for eating healthy, knowledge that will stay with them their entire life.
In addition to learning to grow plants and vegetables, these lucky British schoolchildren also have the opportunity to learn from and tend to chickens in their on-site chicken coop.
The Bees Knees
Lucky English schoolchildren not only learn to nurture and tend their school garden, but also gain an understanding of how nature works in harmony, with chickens, bees and frogs all working together in this enchanted garden space.
A tranquil pond allows children to observe amphibians and see a variety of animal habitats up close.
A small pond and resident toads allow the sounds of nature to define this school garden. Students learn about amphibians by observing them in the garden.
Order and Beauty
The Charlton Manor Primary School garden is not only functional, it is beautiful too, and features a mini-French parterre garden.
Pull Up a Seat
Because it functions as both a working and teaching garden, the Charlton garden offers plenty of areas for enrichment activities.
In addition to being a productive place where they can grow vegetables and plants to sell, the garden is also a peaceful, contemplative spot and escape from the urban environment these schoolchildren know in their day-to-day life.
An advocate of experiential learning Charlton Manor Primary head of school Tim Baker has created a tiny village at the school that shows English architecture, roads and life at various stages in history, allowing the past to come to life.