This was a process that has taken the best part of a year, and showcases what we’ve done to be as eco-friendly as possible (as an example and exemplar for families/schools to follow). We started in earnest to source materials from April 2021, which included a lot of skip diving, making friends with businesses and builders in the area and keeping our eyes out to reclaim and repurpose unwanted and leftover materials from local shops and families undertaking building works (as we wanted to make the garden as sustainable and eco-friendly as possible from the outset, reduce waste and recycle what we could wherever possible, as well as work to a budget and keep costs down). As well as new build elements, the garden includes reused roof timbers from surrounding loft conversions on Oakington Avenue, former pond walls from a Watford garden, offcuts from tile battens and stud wall partitioning from building sites in the village, temporary gate timbers and staging from Chalfont St Giles church, unwanted plant pots, plastic trays and bottles from neighbours, waste pallets from Van Hage and discarded packaging timber from Wickes in Chesham.
The build has been done through weekly volunteering sessions led by Rebecca Tate and David Alexander where we have cleared and rotavated the ground, measured and marked out the layout, erected support posts, laid weed-proof matting, built plant support structures and espalier fencing, created crop protection frames, laid a watering system, built a cold frame, constructed compost bins and leaf mould collectors, repaired missing greenhouse panels, strimmed, trimmed, weeded, raked and swept. Mr Cox helped with building the garden gate and running new guttering from the school hall into rainwater barrels.
We also ran two family volunteering weekends in June 2011 to build, paint and fill the raised beds and strawberry tower and October 2021 to lay paths, build a storage shed and plant dwarf fruit trees. So, it’s been a year in the making and a lot of people have helped out throughout.