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The garden at Curracloe NS, 2023


Curracloe Garden

Artists David Begley and Hanneke van Ryswyk have established an abundant school garden with the pupils of Curracloe National School at Curracloe NS, County Wexford. This ongoing project began in April 2023 when children were asked to bring cardboard to school to be laid on an area of the school's playing field. A beech hedge was planted around this rectangular space and inside this, two layers of cardboard were laid before adding well rotted manure. A year later the garden is thriving and pupils enjoy sowing, growing, caring for, and harvesting food. 

The garden is a source for visual art lessons with David and Hanneke. Children enjoy charcoal drawing, botanical ink painting, colour painting, and clay modelling with local clay. 

The garden has prompted lessons on soil, germination, the importance of water, erosion, wildlife habitats, composting, and creativity. The children have woven a wattle bed, made oak gall ink, drawn with reed pens, sown hundreds of seeds, and built a bean obelisk. They have smelled, handled, tasted and eaten their organic produce. They have also learned to identify weeds, vegetables, herbs and fruit plants. A recent addition to the garden is a wooden frame poly tunnel built by David, Hanneke, and landscape gardener Bob Ryan.


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Driftwood charcoal drawing by 5th class pupil, Curracloe NS, 2024

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Alder cone and iron water in painting by 2nd class pupil, 2024

Vegetables growing in the garden in 2024 are Broad bean, Purple cabbage, Celery, Chard, Corn, Courgette, French beans, Garlic, Kale, Leek, Lettuce, Mizuna, Onions, Pak choi, Peas, Potatoes, Pumpkin, Spinach, Squash, Red Mustard, Runner beans and Tomatoes. Herbs include Borage, Chives, Clover, Lemon balm, Fennel, Mint, Sage, Plantain, and Yarrow. Our selection offruit and flowers include Blackcurrant, Rhubarb and Strawberries, Calendula, Cornflower, Cosmos, Lamb’s ear, Lavender, Nasturtium, Sunflower, Teasel, Delphinium, and Lupins.

David and Hanneke would like to thank the principal and school staff for their support and enthusiasm on this project. Many thanks also to Joyce and Tommie Wouters, Eric Ryan, Michael Cullen, Nora Forde and Bob Ryan of Sound Gardens.

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