Following the award of UNESCO Bioshpere status, the Isle of Man Government organised the 2018 celebration ‘Year of Our Island’ to recognise the Isle of Man as a ‘special place to live and work’.
As part of the celebration we were commissioned to create a temporary garden in St Johns on the site of the former Farmers Arms public house.
The Island’s school children were invited to take part in the scheme by the event team at the Isle of Man Government Cabinet Office. Each school created a plot with the children’s interpretation of the environments around them.
The project showcases the plots created by the children and presents our own interpretation of Our Island and the Biosphere Reserve.
Eighteen schools took part and are represented in the final design. However, the design was made flexible due to initial uncertainty in how many schools would take part.
Each school created a garden in a raised bed which are arranged as spokes around a hub.
The overall design is inspired by the concentric circles of Tynwald Hill. the Island’s marine habitats are represented in the outer circle and the main terrestrial habitats are represented in the inner circle. Finally, the people of Mann are represented in the central circle with that well recognised emblem, the Three Legs.
Each habitat bed was planted with native plants representative of that environment. Cut-out silhouettes of animals have been added for extra interest and fun.
As many materials as possible are supplied as recycled or designed to be reused which is in line with the Biosphere ethos. Similarly, plants have been selected to provide food sources for birds and insects.
Initially the project was designed to be temporary with timber beds, annual flower seeding and trees on loan. However, the project received such a high level of public engagement that its life has been extended.