Last year the school Wellbeing Committee decided to create a special outdoor space for the children to use if they were feeling sad, worried or emotionally overwhelmed - they decided to call it 'The Tranquillity Garden'. Mrs Gooderham volunteered to co-ordinate this project, and she has been busy making plans over the past few months.
We are delighted to say that work is now well underway. Mrs Gooderham and her husband have been working over the past few weekends to get the garden ready. There are lots more jobs to do, but we are hoping that we will be ready for the children to do the planting the week after half-term. In the meantime, there are other jobs for the children to do, painting positive affirmations onto large stones, creating artwork to go in the summerhouse, making watering can features and many other exciting tasks. We anticipate that the garden will be fully up and running just after half-term.
We will post pictures each week, so please scroll down to keep up to date with our progress.
January 2022 - The area we decided to use for our garden is the patch of ground just outside Lime class - it was very bumpy and uneven.
February half-term - Mr Clarke, our caretaker, and his son-in-law Andrew, started to work on levelling the ground. They took the top layer of grass and soil off of the area, but unfortunately the ground was so sticky and waterlogged that we had to wait until the ground had dried up before continuing.
Weekend of 30th April/1st May - The ground had dried up so Mr Gooderham used a rotavator to break up the hard soil. Mrs Gooderham and Charlotte and Marcus Vernon (with a couple of extra little helpers!) collected up all the loose mud and put it in a big pile - it was really hard work! The big pile of soil will be turned into a rockery area.
7th May - The next job was to put down the summerhouse base. Mr Gooderham did this with some help from Dave Gooderham.
Children’s video update - 10th May
15th May - The summerhouse went up today. A huge 'thank you' to Matt Hart for giving up his Sunday to do this for us.
21st May - A busy weekend! Will Howe and James Duck starting to put up the fencing, they will finish off during the half-term holiday. We are very grateful to them both for giving up their time to do this for us.
Mr Gooderham sanded down and repainted a bench that was kindly donated to us.
Mrs Gooderham went to the recycling centre and bought an old wooden table and chair to go in the summerhouse. She painted them with cream furniture paint to make them look bright and cheerful - the decor in the summerhouse will be in the old fashioned 'vintage' style.
25th May - The children have been very busy over the past week working with Mrs Gooderham to make all sorts of interesting things to go in the garden.
Colin the Caterpillar - Children from the Reception class painted some large stones with acrylic paint, then when they were dry used acrylic paint pens to add some detail. The rocks were then glued onto a board to keep them in place, and a little faux moss added for a finishing touch. We hope that Colin likes his home in our garden
Decorating the bird-box and butterfly house - Children from Beech class used acrylic painting pens to decorate wooden butterfly and flower shapes, sticking them onto the bird-box and butterfly house to make them colourful.
Log slice mobile - Beech class children also made a mobile out of natural materials. They decorated small log slices with bugs and birds, and then they were threaded with string and attached to a large stick.
Wooden log slice signs - Children from Oak class used the acrylic pens to decorate some wooden butterfly and flower shapes, and then glued them onto some large log slices, with a few tiny ladybirds for an extra little touch.
Bug Stones - Children from Oak, Lime and Willow had fun painting large pebbles to make some bug friends for Colin the Caterpillar.
Art Boards - There was an old wooden gate behind one of the school sheds, so Mr Gooderham cut it up for the children to make pieces of art for the summerhouse and a welcoming sign for the garden gate. The boards were painted with brightly coloured acrylic paint, which when dry, was lightly sanded down to create the 'shabby chic' effect. Then some children from Cedar, Willow and Larch used wooden scrabble letters, fairy/flower/butterfly shapes and little ladybirds to decorate the boards.
The children from these classes also painted positive affirmations onto slices of slate, which will be placed amongst the flowers in the borders.
Watering can feature - The children threaded little iridescent star beads onto nylon fishing twine which had been threaded through the rose of a watering can. When the watering can is hung up onto the fence the beads will look like streams of water flowing from the can.
Friday 27th May (PD day) - Mr Clarke took up a row of paving slabs intending to dig a channel for the wiring of the water feature. Unfortunately he discovered a deep layer of concrete that was much too hard to chisel out. So, Mr Gooderham contacted Speedy Hire on the Moreton Hall Estate, and they let us hire a hydraulic breaker at a very discounted price - they even had it delivered to the school within an hour. Many thanks to Dave for his help, advice and fantastic service.
Saturday 28th May - With a little trepidation Mr Gooderham fired up the hydraulic breaker to tackle the concrete. It took a long time to get through the 9 inches of concrete to the soil underneath, and then dig down to the required 18 inches of depth for the wiring. A long, hard day!
While Mr Gooderham was busy with his digging, a wonderful team of volunteers came along to help Mrs Gooderham paint the summerhouse inside and out and the ten fence panels. We would like to thank Tom from Suffolk Timbers for his amazing generosity in donating all the fence panels and posts.
Everyone worked so hard and there was a fantastic community atmosphere. A big 'thank you' to Fallon Stone, Rebecca Young, Laura Davies, Katie Stevenson, Paul Norrey, Nicola and Richard Tungate, Mrs Asker, Jordan Asker and Mrs Gooderham's sister-in-law who is also called Sarah! Another big 'thank you' to all the children who came along with their parents and were so keen to join in and help.
Sunday 29th May - Despite it being a very damp and cold Sunday morning, help arrived to put the last coat of paint on the summerhouse - a big 'thank you' to Rebecca and a very keen little helper
Monday 30th May (first day of half-term) - Another cold and damp day, but despite this Mrs Gooderham and Mrs Asker were very kindly joined by Katie and a couple of extra little helpers Together they finished off the painting jobs.
Meanwhile Paul Brown, the school's electrician, got to work putting in the wiring for the water feature, which was very kindly donated by the flooring and furniture company John Doe of Diss. We would like to say a huge 'thank you' to them for their wonderful donation, the sound of running water will really add to the tranquil atmosphere in the garden
31st May - Will and James finished off the fencing today, and it looks absolutely amazing! We would like to say an enormous 'thank you' to them both for giving up another day to do this for us, we are so grateful for their help with this project.
1st June - We were kindly donated some lovely plants, but we needed many more. So Mr and Mrs Gooderham went to Chedburgh Garden Centre to buy the rest. We would like to say a massive 'thank you' to Andrew and his family, who own the garden centre, for their help and advice, but also for the huge discount that Andrew gave us on the plants and compost. On top of this he also donated two beautiful hydrangeas, which will look absolutely amazing in the garden.
The plants have all been laid out in the tranquillity garden ready for the children to plant next week.
2nd June - Another busy day! Mr and Mrs Gooderham were again joined by Mrs Asker and her son Jordan. There were hedges to trim, weeds to dig up, the membrane to lay and the gravel to put down. Mr Gooderham even managed to persuade a tree surgeon who was working on a neighbour's garden to cut a few branches off of one of our trees.
3rd June - Rebecca and an expert little painter joined Mr and Mrs Gooderham today The rest of the membrane was laid, the security lock was fitted onto the gate, the entrance into the garden was concreted, the loom chairs for the summerhouse were painted and the rocks that the children had decorated were varnished.
4th June - Unfortunately we ran out of gravel on Thursday evening, and couldn't order any more due to the Jubilee bank holiday. This meant that after several phone calls to local builders merchants at 8am, Jewsons came to our rescue with all the bags we needed. They also gave us a huge discount - many thanks to Stephen, the Assistant Manager, and his team for all their help. A convoy of vehicles (many thanks to those involved) collected the gravel and it was 'all systems go' once again.
Then Mr and Mrs Gooderham, Mrs Asker and Jordan spent the day finishing laying the gravel, laying the flooring in the summerhouse, installing the safety glass into the summerhouse doors, fixing the downpipe for the water-butt and carrying out all the finishing touches, of which there were many!
Meanwhile, Mrs Gooderham's sister-in-law was decorating the upcycled table and chair for the summerhouse with little pink flowers - they look fantastic, thank you Sarah!
So, we are absolutely delighted to say that we have hit our 5 day countdown target, and the garden is now completely ready for the children to carry out the very last stage, which is putting in the plants - we will post photos of the children doing this next week. Mr and Mrs Gooderham would like to say a very big 'thank you' to Mrs Asker and Jordan for all their hard work over the past week.
7th June - As it was dry and sunny today it was decided that we should get the plants in quickly before the weather changes and we have rain again. So a small group of children from each class worked together to get the garden completely ready for the ‘big reveal’ to the rest of the school later on in the week. The children were so excited to see how the garden has transformed over the half term holiday and can’t wait to show their friends.
You have seen little glimpses of our garden in these photos, but later on in the week we will post a special video, set to music, showing the garden fully, from it’s very beginning as a barren piece of land, to the colourful, inviting and tranquil area that it is now. Watch this space!
9th June - Before our final video we would like to take this opportunity to thank again all the people you have seen on this website, who kindly gave up their time to help build this beautiful garden for the children of Ickworth Park School. Thank you to all those who donated plants and other items for the garden and also to Mr Martin Bell for his very kind cash donation.
We would also like to thank all the companies/organisations who have supported us with this project;-
Ickworth Park School PTA - for all their hard work raising the money that went towards the cost of the garden.
Lord Belstead Charitable Trust - for their kind donation of a grant.
Tom Hobbs from Suffolk Timbers - for the very generous donation of the fencing and concrete posts.
John Doe of Diss - for the wonderful water feature and the flooring for the summerhouse.
Chedburgh Garden Centre - for a huge discount on the plants, compost and the gift of two beautiful hydrangeas.
The anonymous donator of our garden gate - Mr Gooderham went to Suffolk Timbers to look at solid and lockable garden gates. While he was there he chatted with another customer about what we were working on and the reason behind it. This customer thought that our project was a wonderful idea and he said that he wanted to buy a gate for us - which he did! This very kind gentleman wanted to remain anonymous.
Ickworth Park Estates - for the lovely tree stump and bone oak from the estate gardens.
Kentwell Hall, Long Melford - for the cedar log slices that we turned into signs and the wonderful gnarly logs that we placed in the rockery.
David at Speedy Hire, Bury St. Edmunds - for coming to our rescue late on a Friday afternoon with a hydraulic breaker, which was delivered within an hour, and loaned to us at a huge discount.
Stephen at Jewsons, Bury St Edmunds - for a huge discount on the gravel.
Clarkes of Walsham-le-Willows - for their discount on building materials
Dave Gooderham PR - for putting together the final video
Our final thank you is to Mrs Gooderham's husband, Danny, for all his hard work and dedication to this project, and for making sure that our garden was finished on time.
10th June - During assembly Mrs Gooderham spoke to the children about her own experience using a tranquillity garden at Addenbrookes hospital. It was this garden that inspired her to create a special outdoor space for the children of Ickworth Park. Then the children watched a video made up of a montage of photos showing the garden from it's beginnings as a rough piece of land, all the art work that the children created before half-term, the planting and finally the finished garden.
The music in this video was:-
'A Log on the Fire' by Isobelle Walton and 'The Gift of Giving' by Howard Harper-Barnes
26th June - Mr Gooderham ran out of time to make the bug hotel during the half term holiday, but he dedicated time this weekend to make it - I think you will agree that it was well worth the wait!