Parliament Hill School Projects

Parliament Hill School has vast grounds and is uniquely situated adjacent to Hampstead Heath where a hedgehog population is on the lookout to extend their habitat. The front of the school is next to a busy road, and we started planting mini forests and hedges in March '22 to protect from noise and air pollution. Many more, very ambitious projects under the banner of 'Biodiversity & Beauty' have been realised in 2022 &'23. and we are very excited to see the trees, hedges and flowers grow and will monitor how they are doing and what wildlife they attract. The pond has some life creatures added, burst into life and has been the main attraction for the students.
UPDATE February '24: a new mini orchard of 4 apple and 2 cherry trees was added and we built small raised beds to grow strawberries and some veg. The finest manure was bought from Kentish Town City Farm, and we are excited about a partnership that will include having their two donkeys join us for some conservation grazing.

Rewilding Checklist
  • Miyawaki mini forest
  • Native hedges
  • Hedgehog houses & bird boxes
  • Wildflower meadows
  • Log piles
  • Wildlife ponds
  • Rainwater Capture
  • Bee Borders


Growing Green has been awared £500 for a butterfly and a cut flower garden from the Veolia Sustainability Fund.The inspiration for the butterfly garden came from the RHS wildlife garden at the Hampton Court Garden Show - betony and anthemis plants covered in skipper butterflies. We will add some grasses that the caterpillars love too. 
The cut flower garden will bring the students and staff as much joy as it has brought us on the allotment.

  • The herb plants will be added in spring
    The new herb garden is in situ. The herb plants will be added in spring
  • He is using the wood of a felled tree for many creations like this seating area
    Caretaker David has been busy. He is using the wood of a felled tree for many creations like this seating area
  • We had to remove the old pond and David turned it into a bug bath
    Bug bath instead of pond. We had to remove the old pond and David turned it into a bug bath
  • Plants and bulbs are slumbering for now
    New pollinator border. Plants and bulbs are slumbering for now
  • Pollinator border 2: designed by Lucy
  • The school will burst into colour next spring
    Hole with spring bulbs. The school will burst into colour next spring
  • The box plants were infected with box blight and we replaced them with native hedge plants
    Native hedge instead of box. The box plants were infected with box blight and we replaced them with native hedge plants
  • Wildflower meadow 2
  • In total, we have 8 large water butts holding a total of  1600 liters
    A water butt station. In total, we have 8 large water butts holding a total of 1600 liters
  • We added bulbs, more seeds and covered it under a blanket of straw
    Wildflower meadow 1 is slumbering. We added bulbs, more seeds and covered it under a blanket of straw
  • We will add lots of low-growing native wildflower plug plants that insects will love
    Butterfly habitat 1. We will add lots of low-growing native wildflower plug plants that insects will love

New projects

School year 2023/24: More projects are planned for under the banner of 'Biodiversity, Beauty & Sustainability'. Our increasingly dry summers shift our attention towards drought-resistant solutions that bring temperatures down, are low maintenance but still attract wildlife. An additional pond in the front was built, and more wildflowers and pollution-shielding hedges will be planted. We are preserving rainwater with many water butts.  The orchard has brought much joy to the school community, and we want to increase our fruit production with more trees. 
Our autumn projects:
  • two new pollinator-friendly herbaceous flower borders (planted October '23) by Designer Lucy Begg (website)
  • 3 x 25kg of daffodils donated by the Parli People PTA and planted by volunteers & gardening club
  • new wildflower meadow in the front and in the back 
  • herb garden & more fruit trees funded by a £250 grant from Caterlink (started in October)
  • creating a skipper butterfly habitat (food plants for their caterpillars and the butterflies) - work in progress

Miyawaki Mini Forest

In spring '22, we planted about 800 tree whips along the front fence as shield from a busy road. (Cost: circa £1300). We identified a second area, next to the Heath, that was planted early February '23 with about 250 trees (14 different native small tree and shrub species). Cost for new forest: £300

Woodland Spring Flowers

Our new mini forest will be the home to about 200 suitable spring flowers: English bluebells, woodland anemone and wild primrose. We hope they will spread and provide early nectar and spring cheer. Cost: £70

Managed Hedge

Going wild isn't always suitable and we have one area where hornbeam and another area where several native species will form a clipped hedge that is still beneficial for bird and other wildlife. Cost: donated by the Hitchin Rotary Club

Frog Habitat

Frognal Gardens built a mini frog habitat for us! A puncture-proof basin including plants in the middle of a sunny area and close to enough hiding spaces for frogs outside the pond. We added frog spawn and lots of pond creatures (daphnia, cyclops, water hog-lice, ...) that will keep the pond healthy and clear.  Cost: donated by Frognal Gardens

Bug Bath

In August '22 we revamped the wildlife pond (cost: £400). Sadly, it got vandalised, we have tried everything but we now removed this pond and instead created a new water reservoir in the new orchard using the plants from the old pond. Instead, David turned the hole into a bug habitat! Genius.

Bird Sanctuary 

Food and shelter with an RSPB approved bird-friendly hedge (140 whips planted in Jan '23) and a wild bird wildflower meadow (sown in January '23) will make one area a true sanctuary for our feathered friends and bird watchers. Cost: £300
In autumn '23, we want to increase the length and the depth of this hedge.


Inspired by the Tower of London Superbloom, we want to create our own! The colour scheme is purple, just like the school colours. We sowed mostly annual wildflower seeds in March '23, and they are in full bloom now.  Another very dry area with hardly any soil was sown with suitable wildflower seeds that hopefully make it through dry spells. Cost: £100

Hedgehog Habitat

Hedgehogs have been recorded in this part of the Heath and we want to increase the area that they call home. We dug a hole (aka 'hedgehog highway') planted hedge bubbles alongside the fence separating the school from the park and they will complement the existing trees. Heath Hands donated a hedgehog house and a log pile. They created a dead hedge for more habitat and food sources.


An unused area in the front was planted up with 16 small apple and 3 small pear trees plus 16 fruit bushes (all colour currants, honeyberries and gooseberries).  We also sowed annual wildflower seeds for a splash of colour and nectar for insects. Every school should have some form of a kitchen garden and an orchard is easy to maintain and brings a lot of joy. A bug hotel will be home for a few solitary bees we hope.  Cost: £850

Purple Border

In a less wild border, we are planting perennials that pollinators love, such as nepeta, salvia, monarda, verbena, ... . The colour scheme is purple (with a splash of yellow), the school colours! Cost: £350

Rainwater capture

We have installed 8 water butts in two different parts of the school grounds that will hold a total of 1600l water. Cost: circa £600 (50% paid by the school.

Pollinator Border

We removed small conifers and instead planted hundreds of spring bulbs, perennials for pollinators and built log piles. It looks a bit bare right now but will burst into colour in spring '24.

Plans and hopes for the future ... 

  • our projects being used for the curriculum
  • students learning to connect with and value nature
  • building a kitchen garden including a greenhouse or poly tunnel and raised beds
  • planting a food forest with larger nut trees and smaller fruit trees
  • creating a rain garden
  • planting many more spring bulbs

  • Mini forest in the making
    BEFORE Mini forest in the making
  • Mini forest in the making
    Claudia clearing with a Kenyan tool Mini forest in the making
  • Removing bramble and ivy
  • Picking a LOT of litter
  • Mini forest in the making
    Ground cleared and ready to plant Mini forest in the making
  • The trees are going in
  • AFTER - our mini forest
  • Before - During - After
  • Some of the amazing helpers
  • Hedgehog highway ..
  • ... and a hedgehog house
  • Pond in the making ...
  • ... ready for water and plants
  • Welcome stand for our February planting event
  • Mums just know how to work ... pond cleaning
  • Colin from Heath Hands hanging up bird boxes
  • Capucine preparing an area for wildflower seeds
  • Bird-friendly hedge plants arrived
  • Uploading our trolley with plants and tools
  • Apple trees arrived and waiting to be planted
  • On our way to the school
  • First apple tree planted
  • Mycorrhizal fungi to give the trees a little buddy
  • Apples in the orchard
  • Hedge planted
  • Noel enriching the pond with small creatures
  • A damselfly larvae
  • Damselfly larvae close-up
  • Daphnia ad cyclops under the macro lense
  • Operation 'Saving Rainwater' is under way
  • The new sign for our mini forest
  • Bluebells in the mini forest are emerging
  • The pond is clear and full of life
  • Trees planted spring '22 are thriving
  • Pear blossom in the orchard
  • Tiny gooseberries
  • New project: bee border
  • Our water butts in all their glory

Our Past Projects: 

School year 22/23

We are working weekly with the gardening club at Parliament Hill School and have finished many exciting projects that are now closely monitored. 

During our fabulous community planting event in February '23, we planted a mini forest, cleaned the pond and sowed a wildflower meadow. Frognal Gardens donated and installed another mini pond and we are marvelling at the tadpoles and at the little creatures that keep a pond healthy. Heath Hands installed bird and bat boxes, donated logs and hedgehog house.

We are more than just a lovely project - we educate, we take actions and we bring the community together. Growing Green is part of the climate change solution and we are very proud of what we have achieved so far.