School gar­den on show

Stir­ling High pupils’ ef­forts trans­form teach­ing aid to out­door ex­trav­a­ganza

Daily Dispatch - - Weekender - ZISANDA NKONKOBE zisan­dan@dis­patch.co.za

It started out purely as a teach­ing aid for pupils but, two years later, the Stir­ling High School gar­den is gear­ing it­self up to take part in its first ever gar­den show.

Started in 2016 by the school’s Eco Club in the quad area, one of the two over­see­ing teach­ers, John Marias, said the main aim of the gar­den was to teach pupils about dif­fer­ent plant types and how to take care of them.

Start­ing out as bar­ren patches of grass sprout­ing be­tween the tar, the in­dige­nous gar­den now boasts a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent plants which in­clude pink sage bush, natal plum, yellow stre­litzia, car­pet gera­nium, fyn­bos, erica and the Protea – to name a few.

Not only are each of the dif­fer­ent plants la­belled but the gar­den comes com­plete with in­for­ma­tion boards which are strate­gi­cally placed on the walls bor­der­ing the quad. The boards de­tail the plant’s abi­otic fac­tors, lo­ca­tion and threats.

The gar­den also has sev­eral benches where pupils can sit and bond with na­ture.

An­other fea­ture is a wet­land, a minia­ture pond which comes com­plete with reeds and a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent aquatic plants.

Ac­cord­ing to Marias, fund­ing for the gar­den came from a va­ri­ety to dif­fer­ent sources. The square boxes – built to ac­com­mo­date the plants and placed through­out the quad – were do­nated by the 2015 ma­tric class as their gift to the school.

Many of the plants were do­nated by par­ents, with the rest com­ing from the pupils. The wet­land was con­structed with money raised by the Eco Club.

“The first year we started this as a project, each child in Grade 10 who does life sci­ence was given a par­tic­u­lar plant, and they had to write a re­port about it, and if they were able to get that plant then they could bring it and plant it in the gar­den,” Marias said.

“Now we use the gar­den for teach­ing. Of­ten the kids are given a project and they must come into the quad, read the plant in­for­ma­tion from the wall, go and look for the par­tic­u­lar plant in the gar­den and then write about it.”

This year the gar­den will be one of those on show in the an­nual Pam Gold­ing Gar­den Show from 10-11 Novem­ber.

“Last year some­one told me that I should open up the gar­den as part of the Pam Gold­ing Gar­den Show and I said ‘yes’. So I con­tacted them and got on board, which is great,” Marias said.

Pic­tures: ALAN EASON

COLOUR­FUL DIS­PLAY: Stir­ling High School trans­formed its quad into a beau­ti­ful gar­den with an ar­ray of fine plant species.

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