Essex Can Do and Market Field School Courtyard: Part Two

14 November 2018

By Leanne

Last week I met with the Executive Head of Market Field School, Gary Smith, to talk about starting work on the two courtyards.

Market Field School is a special school for 220 children and young people between the ages of five and 16 who experience moderate learning difficulties.

Everyone is excited that the school is going to have such an amazing outdoor space!

Won the lottery

A class from year six are going to be ambassadors of the garden and take ownership of the project.

There was a lot of excitement in the classroom when Gary announced the news and one of the students asked if the school had won the lottery!

The class was delighted to hear their courtyard had been chosen as one of four National Garden Scheme projects in England and Wales.

Winter time

As the gardening work will begin early 2019, I have come up with some lovely session ideas which can be done in the warmth of a classroom over the winter months until spring time arrives and we can venture out to work on the courtyards.

It’s not recommended that we drill into the concrete walls of the courtyards so I’ve come up with a solution for hanging wall decorations!

The courtyard currently

Readily available online is a range of wooden birds and animal shapes which we can paint. They’re laser cut for a perfect finish and we can easily attach them to the raised planters!

Bird watching

The sessions will give pupils the opportunity to learn about British hedgerow birds and to be able to spot them when out and about. I wonder if we’ll be able to tempt little birds into the courtyards with some bird feeders and a bird bath.

I have also found a fabulous range of accessible outdoor furniture pieces, planters, benches and cold frames which I can’t wait to have delivered.

Wood is such a beautiful material and I think it’s really important to use wood over other materials where it’s possible so to keep a natural feel to the garden.

New lease of life

With dust sheets, newspaper, aprons and paint brushes, we’ll be able to varnish the wooden planters and benches indoors over winter.

We’ll also be able to give the existing garden furniture a new lease of life with a lick of paint.

A group of pupils will also come together to decorate and organise the wooden storage sheds which will house the school’s watering cans, seed trays, compost, gardening gloves and hand trowels.

Looking forward to spring

Fast forward to spring time and we’ll be able to run sessions outdoors and get everyone involved in painting the walls.

I’ve found some beautiful stencils online which come in a range of sizes and flower designs from tall sunflowers to trailing ivy leaves.

With all the garden furniture painted and in place, a local artist will facilitate stencil painting sessions so the courtyard walls come alive with flowers and foliage. 

Leanne is a Can Do Programme Coordinator in Essex.

Our Can Do Gardening projects are funded by National Garden Scheme.

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