Welcome to our Sustainable School Garden
Thanks to the determination and hard work of our eco-committee, dedicated staff, students and parents supporting our efforts, we have created natural safe havens for insects and animals in the city. Not only is this an exceptional educational opportunity for our students to learn about and experience more natural ecosystems in the city, but the lack of peat and readily soluble fertilizers and pesticides coupled with the addition of a pond, insect homes and many beneficial flora is creating a safer and cleaner environment for our students, staff and parents.
In the summer of 2021 we applied and received our “Natural Garden” (Prírodná záhrada) certificate. Currently, there are only a few schools in the whole of Slovakia that fulfil all the criteria of ‘Natural Garden’. We are now accepting visitors from other schools and kindergartens to observe our oasis, learn more about natural ecosystems and get inspiration to create such a garden themselves.
In our garden, you will find...
A hedge is important for biodiversity - it provides a nest for birds, insects and small animals. People, in turn, enjoy its decorative function and many practical benefits - hedges are much cheaper, friendlier and much more beautiful than a big wall between you and your neighbour. A hedge also improves the microclimate of an area, provides shade, and offers protection from strong winds, reduces noise and dust.
This unique circle of greenery is an original permaculture design and creation of our school, planted in 2009. It is a natural and innovative way of cooling our entrance area, purifying the air and reducing noise pollution from the car park. Green spaces like this also help promote relaxation, relieve stress, and inspire physical activity.
Our Herb Spiral helps us to grow an abundance of herbs in a small, yet mighty area. It’s innovative design maximises space and allows water to drain freely through all levels of the spiral. There is a drier zone at the top which is perfect for hardy herbs and a moist area at the bottom for herbs that need a lot of water.
Our boat, jungle gyms, small climbing wall for kids and garden house are all made of wood. Wood is a much more durable, recyclable, renewable and environmentally friendly alternative over metal or other non-biodegradable materials. Our nature-based playground equipment doesn’t trap the heat of the sun on a hot day, making it comfortable to play on, unlike metal playsets. Unlike other playgrounds that all look the same, our eco-friendly wooden playground really doesn’t look repetitive.
Trees play a vital role in our ecosystem. They provide homes, food and protection for birds, animals, insects and other organisms. When trees drop their leaves, they enrich the soil. They also increase air humidity, provide shade, reduce temperature and noise pollution, capture dust, absorb contaminants from the air and retain rainwater. Mature trees regulate water flow, preventing floods and reducing the risk of natural disasters. Trees not only produce oxygen, but a mature tree can absorb up to 150 kg of CO2 per year. As a result, trees play an important role in climate change mitigation.
Mulching is the process of covering the soil with an organic material, which creates a protective layer for it. This process helps to retain soil moisture, regulate soil temperature, reduce weeds and supply the soil with nutrients.
Composting is nature’s way of recycling. Organic waste is broken down into compost that can be used in the garden as a nutrient-rich fertilizer. Composting reduces food and garden waste, lowers our carbon footprint and feeds our soil with the vital nutrients needed to help our plants to thrive.
Growing our own vegetable garden has many benefits. When choosing to grow our own food we reduce the amount of carbon footprint as well as the plastic packaging. It also helps us become more self-sufficient and to know the whole story behind what we are putting in our mouths. Sinking your hands into the soil and watching your plants grow, is also extremely fun and satisfying.
Insect hotels provide a nesting opportunity and hibernation place for a variety of insects that are beneficial for the biodiversity in the area. Bugs, spiders, centipedes, ladybugs or solitary bees will find a home here. While some people are put off by bugs, they are actually essential to having a healthy and fruitful garden. Insects are key players in important processes such as soil formation, and pollination and they help to eliminate unwanted pests and diseases.
Ponds support the local wildlife, create a safe haven and are an important water source for animals. Gardens that have ponds are considered to be a complete ecosystem. Ponds are also cool, calm and relaxing places to watch and learn about how natural systems and cycles work.
Hedgehogs are good indicators of the quality of a garden, as they feed on soil invertebrates, such as worms and slugs, which are only present in healthy ecosystems. This means that if we use pesticides and kill these precious soil creatures, there is no food left for the hedgehogs. Hedgehog houses provide shelter for these nocturnal animals. Making our own hedgehog house makes us be more considerate to our environment and the animals living around us.
Growing fruit trees and bushes has many benefits. Not only do we grow our own healthy food which we can enjoy in many forms, but above all they are very important for insects, birds and animals of various kinds, which feed on the blooming flowers and sweet fruits. How many fruit trees can you spot in this garden?
Rainwater harvesting is a sustainable way of water management. We utilize the water we collect and water our plants with it. Rainwater is even better for watering plants as it is mostly pure and free of toxins. Also, this way, we are not wasting precious drinkable water, which is too scarce and valuable a resource to be used for watering our gardens.
Our teepee is made of plants like peas or beans, which naturally climb around the basic construction. The tee-pee provides a hiding place and a shelter for the kids, especially on warm and sunny days. While resting in the teepee, they can eat a number of fresh growing fruits or vegetables from our school garden.
A bee bath is a safe source of water for bees. While many insects obtain the water they need from their food, bees need to drink it. They also use water to make honey, feed their babies (larvae) and to keep their hives cool.
Birdhouses are a wonderful way to cosy shelters to our local birds, especially in city areas, where natural nesting options might be scarce. Birds offer many valuable services to an ecosystem, so offering them a home helps improve their biodiversity and vitality. Birdhouses also provide an excellent opportunity to watch and learn about bird species and the way that they behave.