New garden areaat Hillside Primary and Nursery School

Mr Vickers shows pupils some of the new plants
Mr Vickers shows pupils some of the new plants

Hillside Primary and Nursery School children have returned from their summer break to find a miraculous transformation in the school courtyard.

What was once an ordinary school playing area has been transformed into a Mediterranean haven by Gary and Janet Vickers during the summer holidays.

Gary Vickers is the Site Manager at Hillside Primary School and his wife Janet is a cleaner.

Janet said: “It was an area that was used - but not inspiring. Never in a million years did I think we would get the go ahead, we have never done anything like this before.

“It’s difficult to explain why we wanted to do it, we are retiring in two years and we wanted to do it before we left.”

The school already has a garden club and some raised beds have been left for the students to plant herbs and learn about the plants.

The couple have also designed a dry stream area and planting that will attract wildlife. Mr Vickers said that he hopes that the garden will evolve and is now looking for some ambient lighting for the space.

Dot Stenson, Headteacher at Hillside Primary and Nursery School, said: “All the staff and children have stood back in wonderment at the arrival of the Mediterranean garden.

“It is rich in science to research different plants that normally inhabit warmer climates. A chance for art to make still life drawings and perhaps to write poetry in its oasis setting. The children can plant and grow flowers and bulbs to fill the courtyard with colour.

“This wonderful facility offers rich opportunities – it is a beautiful sensory place for children to chat, chill or read across the day.”