In the centre of our school garden is a young butternut tree. Over time it will grow, provide shade and a nut like a walnut. When a group of parents and community members gathered last March to plan our garden we wanted it to include hardy, perennial food plants (like trees and berries) so that our children could experience growing, harvesting, preserving, preparing and eating food from their garden and that would be easy for us to care for.  We also wanted beautiful flowers, herbs for tea and some annual veggies that students could grow during the school year (i.e. like salad greens). These beautiful plants are the “backbone” of our garden.

Our little butternut, was donated by Steve and Madoka Tarrant, who gave it a home when the Salsbury Garden was destroyed for development.

But we got really excited when we talked about our garden as a venue: a place to gather, relax, play and enjoy. Maybe we could have music nights in the garden? Tea parties after school? Drawing classes in a gazebo? Art, culture and sustainability (our school’s programming themes) all in one! Our feeling was if we designed the space well, people would gather and fun would happen. With our small start up budget last year we didn’t design the benches, tables, gazebo, compost system or shed- we just left space for them.

This year we want to take the next step and begin designing and building our garden “furniture.” For this year I think its reasonable to plan for some compost bins (so we don’t have a big pile of mulch in the corner) and some new, comfortable seating. (Thanks to Steve and Madoka who donated their old picnic table to get us through year one. Terry reports that it was well used over the summer!)

These photos come from these sites selling garden accessories, like these two: and We  can get inspiration from such sites and then  build our own.

What do you like? Add comments, links to other photos or send me some photos to post here (