Garden project is growing well

A green initiative at Morpeth’s high school is making good progress.

A number of volunteers, including members of the school community and town residents, are helping out with the long-term Botanical Garden project and a few local organisations have also got involved.

And some big events are being planned to raise awareness, including a gardeners’ question time in March.

Staff at King Edward VI School came up with the idea to make the outdoor sections of its land more attractive as part of its ‘outward facing’ ethos and desire to strengthen community ties.

A steering group was formed and members include environmental biology Professor Alan Davison and RHS gardener Maxine Eaton.

Work has already begun by the bandstand thanks to funding from the KEVI PTFA (Parents, Teachers and Friends Association) and dozens of spring bulbs have been planted in this area.

A team from Azure Charitable Enterprises, which helps young people with disabilities to develop horticultural skills, have now planted a mix of Scilla, Crocus and Alliums on the bankside next to the Wolfson Suite with support from Mr Davison.

Of the other developments and plans for 2015, project co-ordinator Sheila Clark said: “We’re delighted with how many people and organisations are getting involved with the project.

“Members of Morpeth U3A had a walk around the school grounds and they have donated a small sum of money to purchase some sunflower seeds.

“The group, along with Heighley Gate and the PTFA, is supporting the gardeners’ question time, which will feature a local panel of experts. In addition, an open day event is being planned for June.

“Retired Scout Commissioner Roger Ashmore delivered 30 bird boxes that were made by local Scouts and Morpeth and District Red Squirrels purchased 20 young Scots Pine trees – a known favourite of the reds – to be planted across the edge of the top field.

“At the old ski slope area, groundsman Michael Arries, his apprentice and the student group they work with, which is called The Gangster Gardeners, have been busy working with the Northumberland Youth Service to develop new raised beds for growing vegetables that will be used by the school kitchen in the future.

“They successfully applied for funding to purchase a polytunnel.”

Work has also been carried out to improve the area around the school’s War Memorial.