John Hampden Grammar School

Horticultural club

An introduction

garden web

The horticultural club started many years ago with autumn planting of bulbs around the school site. To date we have planted tulips, narcissi, agapanthus, lily of the valley, freesia, bluebells, snowdrops and literally hundreds of daffodils. This was all part of a ‘plant a bulb to light the school’ campaign which has made the school look distinctly cheerful in the spring.

We acquired a small bit of land tucked away out of sight from the main school which the headmaster has very kindly allowed us to do with what we will. This was christened the ‘bumblebee garden’ by the horticultural club of 2010, after a national drive to improve bee numbers. Since then, part of it has developed into a wildflower meadow and another section is the site of much planting.

Last summer the site team very kindly built us a new greenhouse, so since then we have been filling it up with seeds which very quickly turn into seedlings which then need rehoming. This then brings about the problem of where to plant out to. The flower beds around the school are filling up with lavender, rosemary and pinks thanks to enthusiastic plant cloning, so new flower beds have to be dug. This has fallen firstly to the biology department, then to miscreant boys (the detention seems to be thoroughly enjoyed!) and then to the horticultural club. So far we now have two raised beds, (thanks to the design department) an herb patch and three beds for general planting. Mr Wright (a maths teacher who is a very keen gardener when he thinks no one is looking) has also been hard at work in recent weeks outside the school canteen, and we now have another flower bed for further planting.

This year the flowerbeds in the quad have really taken off; the wallflowers have been spectacular, the daffodils making a stunning display, and the forget-me-nots (a last minute here are some seeds we forgot to plant) have turned into a lovely cloud of blue.

Close to the bumblebee garden we have discovered a nest of long-tailed tits. These have a habit of shouting at you when you get too close! Within the bumblebee garden we have a few robins whom will join people digging, sometimes to the extent that they get in the way. Next door’s cat however will not join in – it takes one look at us and runs off! In recent months we have also been joined by a pheasant and red-legged partridge. As yet I have been unable to catch them to send them to the kitchen!

Throughout the year we will be updating this page as to what we grow and how the garden develops.


May 2015: Found in the bumble bee garden.

Summer 2015: Tomatoes doing very well in the greenhouse.

Plan for Autumn/Winter 2015: Build raised beds for vegetable planting, prepare the soil for the spring. (This will take us several months!)