Green-fingered pupils from Busby Primary School in East Renfrewshire took gardening to a new level with the creation of their own edible vertical garden which they built with the help of a world-renowned landscape artist.
Catalan Marc Grañén has gained international recognition for his work with schools in Barcelona and this week he joined pupils from Busby Primary on the exciting project, which also marks his first installation in Scotland, working in collaboration with Bristol-based landscape architect Alex Patience (Livegraft).
Pupils have been involved in the designing and planting of the wall, using an assortment of plants including edible species like strawberries and herbs, as well as wildflowers to help support rare local butterflies, selected with the help of Butterfly Conservation (BC) Scotland Project Officer Anthony McCluskey. Located in the school grounds, the green-fingered pupils will also be involved in looking after the garden as it continues to grow and flourish, which will include biodiversity monitoring with the help of BC Scotland.
Urban greening research scientist and enthusiast Dr Lynette Robertson was instrumental in bringing the initiative to Busby Primary and explained the benefits of the project: “Vertical gardens are a great way to liven up school grounds in urban areas with limited green space and they help provide much-needed opportunities for pupils to connect with nature, which has been shown to be beneficial for student learning, and health and wellbeing. The importance of environmental education in schools is increasingly recognised, and this project aims to combine outdoor learning with messages on healthy eating.”
The installation was made possible with funding provided by the Nineveh Charitable Trust, Ernest Cook Trust, Tesco Bags of Help, and Timberplay Scotland. Initial development of the project was funded through the Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN) Ideas Fund, which was created to inspire innovative environmental projects, with Dr Robertson winning the £5,000 prize at the CSGN Forum in 2016.
Keith Geddes, Chair of the Central Scotland Green Network Trust, said: “The Ideas Fund was created to support innovative projects and the edible wall is a great initiative that will inspire environmental awareness in our younger generations.
“In our digital world the need to connect with nature is ever increasing and nature-based studies have been found to have a positive impact on learning, development and behaviour amongst students.”
Mark Weir, Depute Head Teacher at Busby Primary School, said: “As a school we are excited to get involved in this unique project. The vertical garden will bring a valuable resource to our school, providing the pupils with a vehicle to explore conservation, sustainability and biodiversity as themes within their education, helping them become active participants in their community. We look forward to further developing our relationship with the Central Scotland Green Network and Butterfly Conservation as we move forward. A huge thanks must also go to our funding partners, without whom this project would not have been possible.”
As Europe’s largest greenspace initiative, CSGN is working to transform the central belt into a place where the environment adds value to the economy and where people’s lives are enriched by its quality. Stretching from Ayrshire, Inverclyde and Dunbartonshire in the west, to Fife and Lothians in the east, it encompasses 19 local authorities across 10,000sq km and has the potential to benefit 3.5million people, equating to 70 per cent of Scotland’s population.