The ‘Education Garden’ at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse Museum, Norfolk, was in need of a ‘refresh’. As part of my one year Heritage Garden Traineeship I came up with a new design, having consulted staff and volunteers. The agreed design was carried out in 2012 by me and other volunteers at the Museum. It features some minor adjustments to the former planting areas, terraces and grass and also includes an area designed for pre – school children, known as ‘Curiosity Corner’.

‘Curiosity Corner’ is deliberately child – sized, with a winding bark and pebble path and deep borders that sometimes rise above and fall below the path. There are living structures – a willow tunnel and two entrance arches. A ‘pebble mountain’ and a series of wooden features are complemented by a low level mirror, as well as a number of metal and wooden birds, insects, butterfly and a cat, windmills and other ‘oddities’ such as a ‘fossil slab’ set in grass and a wall mask of a ‘small friendly giant’- the idea is to provide unusual things for the the children to spot and stimulate their imaginations.

The planting is varied and includes species with interesting leaves (e.g. Stachys byzantina or ‘Lambs Ears’, ferns and grasses) and last year children planted Sunflowers which grew to an enormous height! There is also a turf seat and a half barrel water feature (complete with metal frog). The garden has now seen a full season of ‘wear and tear’ and has stood up reasonably well – it seems to have been a popular addition to the Museum. However, some adjustments are needed to prevent children accessing the inner path from the terrace, strengthening the enclosed feel of the space and replacing the turf seat which has not really withstood the wear – it has turned into a mound for running up and down rather than sitting on! These changes will be carried out soon.

Old School Gardener

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