Posted by Lesley McCarthy on Jun 15, 2019
Students and staff joined Rotarians to plant out the new gardens at Debney Meadows Primary School.
Getting their hands dirty and learning how to plant were part of the fun for the students who helped renew the gardens at the school at an after school working bee in April.
A grant from the Rotary Foundation has doubled the impact of Flemington Kensington Rotary's garden renewal project at Debney Meadows Primary School. 
Flemington Kensington Rotary's Vocational Chair, Dr Anne McMahon, developed the project in conjunction with Principal Rachel Rasmussen who has been delighted with the support.
"Together We Grow" is a 3-stage plan to renew and develop the gardens and playing areas for the children who mainly come from the high-rise estate and have little experience with plants and growing things.   On one planting session, some children were planting the plants, pots and all.
Over 3 working bees so far, members have removed the tired old mulch and soil, replaced it with fresh, rich growing materials and compost, and installed a drip irrigation system. Citrus, apple and olive trees were donated by Bunnings and have been included in the main garden beds.
After school one day, Parents, children and staff assisted with planting a range of appropriate native plants, shrubs and ground covers, and some edible native plants.  There was wonderful conversation about plants, planting methods and care.
The project has had support from Bunnings; the VRC; and  Professor Hugh Stewart, Jon Temby and Jacqui Van Heerden, who recommended plants most suitable for the climate, soil and location.

Stage 2, “Digging into Learning”, will see removal of the old planter boxes, installation of new boxes constructed by the Men’s Shed, and planting of vegetable gardens.  Teaching about the different vegetables, fruits and edible plants, and inclusion of cooking classes for children and mothers will also occur.