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New Garden World for Children's Education

23 May 2007

A fantasy world of flowers and plants.that's the promise of an exciting, new environmental garden project at Brunswick North Primary School for the students to play and learn in.

The garden project, an initiative of school principal Sally Inchbold and the school community, has been designed and created in joint collaboration with horticulture students from Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE (NMIT) working alongside the children, parents and staff.

With funding of a substantial garden project a concern, Sally contacted NMIT to explore avenues for its students to participate in a garden project as part of real work experience for the students.

The 28m X 15m rectangular garden has been designed by NMIT second-year Diploma of Horticulture student, Lara Rose Thamo, 25, with input of ideas from the schoolchildren.

The garden, with a mix of native flora and exotic flowers with low water maintenance and striking bold foliage and scented plants such as rosemary (supposedly good for the memory), is being installed by nine Certificate IV in Horticulture students from NMIT every Wednesday until the end of June.

Principal Sally Inchbold said while the school's interior was cared for and was appealing to children, the exterior environment was barren and not enjoyable for children as they played outside.

'As a school community, we felt it was really important that the children had a good place outside where they could play and be active that was safe and secure.

We've fenced off the area and put in lights as well as establishing an infrastructure with water tanks and irrigation system,' Sally said.

She added Lara Rose' design had been developed with the children and was practical and sustainable for periods of drought.

'The garden will allow for fantasy play of the children as well as quiet, reflective activities such as reading, either individually or as a group, and art work. It's an outdoor classroom in a sense where children can learn and make their own fun, too.'

She said the school had provided the materials for the NMIT students to create the garden.

NMIT Parks and Gardens teacher Wendy Jones said it was a great opportunity for students to work with a real client on a community project that could provide practical experience on a project that was part of their curriculum. Units they study in their course such as recommending plants, costing a project, planning a plant establishment project and preparing a garden design are all being applied at the school's garden.

Designer Lara Rose Thamo said it was exciting to be involved in the project which inspired her creative imagination.

'It is an amazing opportunity for me to work with the school community of parents, children and staff and from a design point of view, it's great to have my design on show at a school in a local community.'

She said the children had spent time in class drawing pictures of their ideas for the garden and these drawings had been passed on to her to interpret their ideas for the design.

She had also collaborated with Wendy Jones and NMIT students in the creation of her design as well as meeting with the school council and grounds committee.


Interview / Photo Opportunity

Media enquiries should be directed to the NMIT Communications Officer, James Gardener, on (03) 92691579, 0413 483 182 or

NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) - Situated on seven campuses and six training centres throughout Melbourne's north, NMIT delivers vocational training, higher education and lifelong learning capabilities for a global workforce. NMIT forges partnerships with community, industry and government to produce practical, solution orientated graduates capable of making meaningful contributions to their chosen field of endeavour.