School commemoration gardens

Information sheet

Your school may want to create a special garden to celebrate an important event in your school or local history. You may like to mark the memory of someone at your school.

  • School term: All year round
  • Level of experience: No experience needed
  • Subject(s):

What is reason for the garden?

Is it to mark a special school anniversary such as 50 or 100 years of teaching?
As a memorial garden for a member of staff or pupil?
Will it mark a royal, national or commemorative event?
To make a link with international twinned schools?
Commemorative plantings for another special event?

Shapes and numbers

The children should be involved in designing the garden area. They could create a planting composed of the number of plants for the number of years to be celebrated.  Think about the shape of the bed. How easy would it be to make it in letters, numbers or even the shape of the school emblem?

Say it with flowers

Your school emblem or a country flag could be reproduced in flowers. This type of planting is commonly seen in municipal parks; use summer bedding plants or annuals to make a big impact. Bear in mind this display will last for just one season and next year you may need to reconsider. It can be a useful exercise for your students to make the design, chose the plants and colours and grow the plants from seed themselves.

What’s in a name?

You may be thinking of a longer-term planting to mark the event so could investigate suitably named flowers, trees and shrubs. Go to the Plant Finder on the main RHS website & enter words such the person’s name or the event which you wish to celebrate.

The Victorian language of flowers

The Victorians gave flowers and plants meanings, students can research this theme further and incorporate it into the garden plan.

Examples of plants with a name or event in its name: (taken from the RHS plantfinder)

Acer ‘Jordan’
Aster ‘Winston Churchill’
Bergenia ‘David’
Betula ‘Silver Grace’
Clematis ‘Prince Charles’
Crocosmia ‘Golden Glory’
Dahlia ‘Abbie’

Examples from the Victorian language of flowers:

Blue periwinkle - early  friendship
Coreopsis - always cheerful
Dwarf sunflower - admiration & gratitude
Nasturtium - patriotism
Pansy - think of me
Plane tree - genius
Rosemary - remembrance
Strawberry - perfect goodness

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