Tag Archives: Gardening

The Pollinator Garden – April, 2019 – A message from the Gardening Committee

Many thanks to the school and the PA for supporting us in creating the Pollinator Garden. Fingers crossed all plants settle and grow well. The final couple of shrubs will go in after Easter and Fiona’s Science Club will carry out more planting and create bug houses to add to it as there term returns.

Many thanks to Marie McCooey from Greystones Tidy Towns for assisting us in sourcing and choosing the plants and Louise for helping us connect. Thanks also to Arboretum Garden Centre in Kilquade who supplied the upcycled paving slabs free of charge.

Gardening duties carried out by parents Rebecca, Aoife, Fiona, Latifa, Bronwen, Jon and Steph. Plant donations from Clare, Louise, Amanda, Phil and there are more parents still offering cuttings and plants to keep the garden in bloom.

Details and resources on the National Pollinator Plan can be found here, http://pollinators.ie/resources/ The full plant list is as follows;

Pollinator Garden Plant List

Pulmonaria, Boys & Girls

Bergenia ‘Pink Dragonfly’

Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’, wallflower

Ajuga reptans ‘Cocolat chip’

Tellima grandiflora

Anemone ‘Pure White’

Tellima grandiflora ‘Rubera’

Pulmonaria ‘Majeste’

Pulmonaria ‘Diana Clare’

Verbena bonariensis


Prostrate rosemary

English lavender

French lavender


Copper fennel


Crocosmia montbretia

Geranium ‘Rozanne’

Hydrangea Annabelle

Dicentra Spectabilis bleeding heart

Sorbus, Rowan mountain ash

To be added…


Many thanks to all helpers and supporters, looking forward to seeing the students and the Science Club exploring it soon.

Many thanks,
Rebecca and the Parents’ Association’s Gardening Committee.


National Tree Week: Planting trees to combat climate change – March 31st to 7th April, 2019

Tree Week, organised by the Tree Council of Ireland since 1985 is a week long programme of events to celebrate trees and this year the theme is planting for the planet to combat climate change. Rebecca and Aoife, from the Parents’ Association Gardening Committee helped member of the Student Council to plant trees provided by Wicklow County Council.

Forests help reduce climate change effects by reducing the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is the main greenhouse gas responsible for climate change and emissions of it from man-made sources have been increasing year on year since the 1950s.

Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for growth, convert it to sugars and wood and release pure oxygen back to the atmosphere.

Wicklow County Council has provided us with five Native irish trees, the bud identifier pic above will help you identify which is which. You will have to click on the photo to enlarge it.

Click on THIS link to see the work that was done.

The ‘Sow and Grow’ Initiative

Manos e Semilla ruifo via Compfight

Many thanks to the Parents’ Association’s Gardening Committee who bring such fun and excitement to the school with all their creative ideas. This week they are doing a ‘Sow and Grow’. Below is an Animoto slideshow of the boys and girls sowing and growing. Many thanks to Sharon, Susan, Thea and Emer who worked so hard to make sure everyone had a great time, and were ‘hands on’ and involved.

Click on THIS link to see the slideshow.

A Spring ‘Makeover’ for the School Grounds

The school grounds received a colourful Spring ‘makeover’ on Friday 25th January, 2019. Pots and window boxes have been replanted. Many thanks to Eimear, grandmother of pupils Ruadhán, Ailbhe and Caoileann, for her generous donation towards these new plants. See the photos below. Thanks too, to parents Rebecca and Aoife who did the planting. The larger pots now hold with evergreen trees should hopefully last a long time. The seasonal bedding plants below the trees add some colour and a taste of Spring. Well done to the ever faithful Parents’ Association Gardening Committee who give so generously of their time, to make the school grounds look so colourful and so welcoming all year round.

The Radish Harvest

The Parents’ Association’s Gardening Committee brought Senior Infants on a gardening adventure. Earlier this year they planted radish seeds. Today they harvesting radishes. The boys and girls were fascinated when they found the round, red radishes in the soil. They enjoyed tasting what they had grown. They had a sense of pride in what they had achieved. Thank you to the Gardening Committee.

Growing and Sowing with the Parents’ Association.

Today the Gardening Committee from the Parents’ Association worked

with Junior Infants on the ‘Grow It Yourself Sow & Grow’ scheme.

The children planted aubergines, radishes, courgettes,

squash and carrots.


The extra cups that were used

are ‘used cups’ from the Happy Pear

getting a second life as plant pots

and are fully compostable once they are done.

Milk cartons were upcycled as watering cans too.

Many thanks Rebecca, Aoife, Melissa, Sharon and Bronwen

from the Parents’ Association

who organised this interesting and exciting activity

for the three Junior Infant classes.

The Pip Project

3rd Class Room 14 are doing a ‘Pip Project’.

The children are really enthusiastic and it has really taken off.

First the children were invited to plant any pips from the fruit they had for their lunches.

Saorla found some mystery seeds in the yard and we have planted them.

Perhaps we will end up with a bean stalk 😉

Sam brought in an avocado seed. They need to be suspended in water.

Sam also brought in chive seeds.

We are also growing peas.

Teacher brought in nasturtium seeds. They are growing well.

We are interested to see how they follow the sun

and lean towards the light.

Teacher brought in chestnuts.

We discovered in order for chestnuts to germinate

they need to be kept in soil, in a bag in the fridge.

We have had some successes.

The apple seedlings are growing well.

However in the pot were the mandarin seeds were planted,

grass grew. We are a bit mystified by this.

The Gardening Committee have done it AGAIN

MANY, MANY THANKS to the Parents’ Association’s Gardening Committee. They make the school year so interesting for us and great fun. Today they organised us planting vegetables in the school garden. Take a look at the slide show below to see more. Thanks to Ms. Murray for taking the photographs. Click on THIS LINK to see other posts about gardening in the school.

Green Schools – Project Hyacinth Updated

In every classroom in the school ‘PROJECT HYACINTH’ is blooming. Since late November, when the parents from the Gardening Committee delivered a hyacinth bulb to every classroom the children have been watching their progress.

Many of the blooms were pink. Some were blue. We were very interested to see how some grew quickly and some were slower. Some grew very tall and some stayed small. We wondered why this was. A very surprising thing happened to some. After the first flower bloomed and withered, a second one grew. We would like to thank the Gardening Committee for this exciting project.


Project Hyacinth

Day 365+7 Wouter de Bruijn via Compfight
In every classroom in the school ‘PROJECT HYACINTH’ has started to bloom. In late November, the parents from the Gardening Committee delivered a hyacinth bulb to every classroom. They have been sitting in water in glass jars under little cardboard ‘hats’ to fool them into blooming. The first thing we noticed were little white roots growing down into the water. If we lift the ‘hats’ we can see a little green shoot. We are excited to have the hyacinths growing in our classrooms. We wonder what colour ours will be. We would like to thank the Gardening Committee for our hyacinths: ‘the gift that keeps on giving’.
Click on THIS LINK to see the beginning of the story and HERE to see February’s update.

A New Arrival to Our School Grounds – A Beautiful Silver Birch


Renewed thanks to our exceptional gardening committee. They are forever coming up with great ideas to make our school an even better place to be. As well as looking after the school grounds, they do so much more.

  • For example they showed students how to grow vegetables and harvested them.
  • They have created a special outdoor classroom.
  • They commissioned a ‘Buddy Bench’ (made from recycled wooden pallets) where children who have no one to play with can sit until their friends find them.
  • The Gardening Committee caused great excitement when they put a special Halloween scarecrow in the school garden.
  • In this bleak mid winter, they gave each class a hyacinth for the teacher’s desk to bring sunshine to our classrooms.
  • Recently they planted a silver birch trees in the school grounds. Michael the school caretaker helped.

We think the silver birch was a great choice as it is beautiful all year round.

  • In Winter, even though it is deciduous and has no leaves the colour of its bark and the patterns on it are beautiful.
  • In Spring the leaves are a fresh light green and these darken as the year turns to Summer.
  • Then in Autumn the silver birch is colourful with vibrant yellow leaves.
  • Then there are the 500 or so insect species that use the silver birch as a habitat all year round.

Many thanks to the Gardening Committee for another super addition to our school grounds.

We have very little space, but with thought and imagination it has been made a much greener and better place to be.

Trees in our School Grounds – The Umbrella Tree


We have an Umbrella Tree in our school yard. In the Summer when there are lots of leaves, it really works. If you go under it when it is raining you stay dry.

We think it is a weeping willow. It is very beautiful. In Spring there are catkins on the tree. Catkins are furry flowering spikes that hang down. They are soft to touch, but much better not to pick them but to leave them to grow. The catkins fall off and the leaves grow then. It is a good looking and interesting tree.

A Harvest of Gourds


This is a harvest of gourds. They grew in the school garden. You can see them growing in the school garden HERE. When asked some students thought they were peppers or pumpkins.

In some countries people eat gourds. But usually people dry out the gourds to make decorations for flower arrangements or musical instruments (like shakers).

Green Schools: Biodiversity: Guest Post: Growing Monterey Pine Trees From Seed

Growing Monterey Pine Trees From Seed

by Emily H


My project is to show how I grew Monterey pines from seed.

I did this project because I have always had an interest in growing things from a very young age.

It was helped along when my Granddad contacted the former Mayor George Jones

to see if he would be interested in having some of the trees I had already planted

and succeeded in growing for the Greystones community.


Mr Jones agreed and now as you can see from press cuttings.

there is one of my trees in Burnaby Park opposite the train station

BeFunky_Burnaby Park.jpg

and also they took some of my trees and planted them along Shoreline car park.

BeFunky_Burnaby Park.jpg

I am very proud of these trees and so I thought that I could grow some more for my science project for school


Gather pine cones and place them in the full sun to dry them out. Once dried they will open up for easier retrieval of the seeds.

BeFunky_Monterey Pine Cone.jpg

Place the cones on a paper towel and roll them gently until the seeds fall out.


Place the seeds in a container with room temperature of water.

The ones that sink will be the best growers.

Plant the seed in pots, pointed end down and cover with soil.

Keep watering and when the seeds fall off they can be transplanted to a larger container.

I will be keeping a diary following the progress of the trees.

Day 1

Date : 12.6.13

I planted the seeds in the compost pointed side down and watered them.

Day 2

Date : 13.6.13

Still no progress will be back in 2 weeks.

Day 11

Date : 25.6.13

We have our first Monterey shoot. The seed is still on the top.

BeFunky_First shoot.jpg

Day 12 

Date : 26.6.13

We have our second seed shoot. Also seed on top, First seedling has now lost its seed.


Day 19

Date: 3.7.13

We now have 13 Monterey pine tree shoots.

BeFunky_Day 19.jpg

Day 25

Date: 9.7.13

We have 17 Monterey pine tree shoots.

Day 35

Date: 19.7.13

BeFunky_Day 45.jpg

The trees are growing fast.

Day 45

Date: 29.7.13

Still progressing well.

Day 55

Date: 8.8.13 

Strong and healthy trees growing fast.

BeFunky_Day 65.jpg 

Day 65

Date: 18.8.13

Progressing well.

Day 75

Date: 28.8.13

Nearing end of project the trees are strong and healthy.

BeFunky_Day 75.jpg

About Monterey Pines

The Monterey pine, also known as the Radiata pine is a species of pine native to the coast of California. It’s the most widely planted pine in the world, valued for rapid growth and desirable lumber and pulp qualities.

Its native to 3 very limited areas located in Santa Cruz, Monterey peninsula, and San Luis Obispo counties. In Australia, New Zealand and Spain it is the leading introduced tree and in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Kenya and South Africa it is a major plantation species.

Monterey pine has a very small natural range on the central Californian coast, south of San Fransico and on Guadalupe and Cerdros islands off the coast of Baja California in Mexico.

Monterey pine grows best on deep, rich, dry soils or on infertile sandy soil types. It has also shown promise on old red sandstone soil in Munster. It will not do well on wet, shallow ground. It grows vigorously and is known to have a longer growing season than other conifers. In Ireland, Monterey’s commonly suffers from the ”yellows”, a disease sometimes associated with the fungus cyclaneusma minus which results in the yellowing and loss of all the previous years’ needles.

Photo Credit: Wendy Cutler via Compfight


I found this project very satisfying because I enjoy growing and the output of this project will have a long term effect on the environment.

They help the environment by a number of factors:

1)     Trees reduce Carbon Dioxide – the same way humans breathe oxygen and exhale Carbon Dioxide, trees breathe in Carbon Dioxide and exhale Oxygen.  This Carbon Dioxide becomes sugars that can be eaten, burnt for fuel or enjoyed in its leafy form.

2)     Trees reduce ozone levels – In  large cities a reduction in ozone can mean milder temperatures and more breathable air.

3)     Trees reduce erosion by their roots keeping soil from washing away but also they absorb and store water.

4)     Trees provide an ecosystem for animals and insects  by providing a home and  food for them.

Every tree is a potential life-saver to certain species


Well done Emily. Thank you for making Greystones a better place.

A Green School Challenge – What can you do if your school is a concrete jungle?

Earning our fifth green flag is a challenge.

Especially, since before we started Green Schools,

it would have been a challenge

to even find a blade of grass in our school grounds.


You can see from the habitat map of our school

that most of our school grounds is yard space,

where we can play. The surface is man made.

It is a special bouncy one, so that if we fell we

wouldn’t hurt ourselves. There is concrete

and tarmac and pebble dash but

there is no grass at all.


However since we started working towards our Green

School Flags, the Green School Committee has been turning

our school grounds green. We did have trees and plant pots,

but the Green School Committee, Michael the caretaker

and the parents on the Gardening Committee have worked hard.

Now we have a herb garden,

a vegetable garden

and a flower garden.

LOOK here and see!


There are window boxes and hanging baskets.

The plants and flowers encourage biodiversity.

Butterflies, insects and birds are attracted to our garden.

Click here to see more 🙂

Sunflowers will produce seeds

Photo by 4th Class

Who’s been eating OUR cabbages?

Whose been eating OUR cabbage

Students from Fourth Class,

Klaudia, Patrick, Stacey and Sarah saw that

the cabbages in the vegetable garden have been eaten.

There is no sign of any caterpillars,

though we looked and looked.

Perhaps each of them are asleep in a chrysalis

or perhaps they have turned in butterflies


Did you ever hear this song?

‘I went to the cabbages one day,

What do you think I saw?

Eggs in a cluster,

yellow as a duster,

So that’s what it all is for!


I went to the cabbages one day,

What do you think I saw?

Caterpillars crunching,

caterpillars munching,

What could it all be for?


I went to the cabbages one day,

What do you think I saw?

I saw a supa dupa pupa,

What could it all be for?


I went to the cabbages one day,

What do you think I saw?

I saw a butterfly,

watched it flutter by:

What could it all be for?


I went to the cabbages one day,

What do you think I saw?

Eggs in a cluster,

yellow as a duster,

So that’s what it all is for!


The life cycle of the butterfly goes round and round.