The features of the site provide a unique opportunity. The area is at a fairly low point of the campus and had significant water issues with an existing “streambed” that runs through the site and a large drainage ditch. Our talented garden experts devised a plan that will use the water in a fun and creative way for the boys while helping to abate our impact on the James River Watershed. The runoff from the paved areas around the Lower School is redirected into a bioswale that will incorporate water plants and other features to help eliminate pollutants and particulate matter from runoff. Mr. McGuire’s Environmental Science class will be planting a water garden as an ongoing lab.
One of the Richmond area’s first cistern irrigation systems was installed to capture the runoff from the drain field that ends at a neighboring building as well as the runoff from the driveway, sending the water to the concrete cistern located in the back left area of the space. This cistern feeds drip hoses that are embedded in the soil in the four “working” beds.
The “working” beds are for planting various plants that suit our units of study or fit a particular need. The remainder of the garden is planted with assorted micro gardens that focus on a specific area of study or topic for use year to year, such as a butterfly garden or colonial herb garden.
We are optimistic about attracting wildlife and have installed a “birdhouse cam” on the back of the JK house. This bluebird house is wired with a digital camera and is connected to our school network. Any teacher will be able to pull up this camera on their computer for the boys to watch live! Here’s hoping for some tenants to watch throughout the spring.