Kristina Clode received the Environmental Design and Judge Awards by the Society of Garden Designers at an annual event that showcases the best in horticultural design and innovation in the UK.
In a ceremony at the Landmark Hotel in London on October 15, the Sensory Garden was described by Chief Justice Richard Sneesby as “extraordinary”. He said: “It’s generous, beautiful, stimulating, creative, whatever you want a garden to be, and it maybe sets a new high bar for school grounds in the future.”
The Sensory Garden was designed by Kristina on a shoestring budget of £ 5,000 in 2017 and built with help from parents, staff and the children themselves, who all participated by planting a plant and laying stones for mark the trails.
Mother-of-two Kristina, from Brede, said she was “delighted” that her garden was recognized both for its design and as a precedent for encouraging more school gardens to be properly funded and built.
“It was a really special project for me because my two children went to school here; they participated in the construction of the garden alongside me, like all the children in the school and many of their parents and teachers – it was a real community effort.
“I am very proud of the garden. It took a lot of effort to make this a reality, but we created a piece of magic for kids, teachers, and wildlife to enjoy every day.
Opened in January 2018 by Great Dixter Head Gardener Fergus Garrett, the tranquil garden contrasts with the bustling playground beyond, a place where children and their teachers can be immersed in colorful plants of varying heights, textures and perfumes. The durable, low-maintenance design also helps children learn about the environment and develop an interest and love for horticulture.
Mr Sneesby said: Not only does it illustrate what can be done with a small budget and the generosity of people’s time, but above all it is a very good design, ”he said.
“This kind of project, we hope, is a precedent.
School Principal Caroline Harvey added, “Children, staff and parents love our amazing Sensory Garden which not only looks beautiful all year round, but also provides a haven for our children that fosters their learning, their game and their mental and spiritual well-being.
“I thank everyone who gave their time, skills and commitment to bring Kristina’s design to life. We feel very lucky.