Back to school this week. Between setting up my classroom, attending and facilitating workshops, it’s been a hectic first week back.

My lovely school principal has noticed my passion for teaching about plants and nature, and has come through on her promise to allocate a section of the school to my garden project. Look at this amazing space! It has so much potential.

At the centre of this space is an abandoned sandpit that never really got finished. Once all the sand is out, there will be a concentric circle of planters installed, so that the children can step into a clearing in the middle and plant around the edges.

We are going to install white picket fences around the borders. This is where the suburbia aspect ends, as I intend on letting the children go wild with their imagination, transforming this space into into their own jungle.

I’m picturing pothos and monstera growing up the trees. One of the first things I plan on teaching the children is how to propagate plants. We’re going to take some of the potted pothos from around the school and examine them, learning all about nodules and aerial roots. We’ll explore what happens when we put these cuttings in water, leading up to eventually replanting them around the base of the trees.

Its going to be exciting to watch our plants climb the trees, and watch as the leaves get bigger the higher our plants climb.

Last term we tried to grow beans, but the subtropical climate here in South China doesn’t lend itself to growing runner beans, especially as it is tricky to avoid direct sunlight on our school grounds.

This is the effect I have in mind. Ambitious perhaps, but pothos does grow so quickly under the right conditions. So long as we plant them on the shaded side of the tree to avoid direct sunlight, they should start to take hold.

Hopefully we can plant ferns once there is enough shade, as well as hardy flowering plants that will attract insects into our garden. I know that our school is built within a nature corridor as I’ve seen millipedes, butterflies, frogs and huge land snails out on the AstroTurf.

Watch this space!

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