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Staff and students from the University of Greenwich Landscape Architecture programmes are helping to make a garden for the Druk White Lotus School in Ladakh, India. The design of the Druk White Lotus School, by Arup Associates, is based on a Tibetan mandala. ‘Mandala’ is a Sanskrit word. It was used for the sections of the Rig Veda and became associated with a visual symbol, based on a circle and square, used for the layout of temples and the design of stupas and many other sacred objects. DWLS was severely damaged by a mudslide in 2010. The site is in a cold desert and there is a great need for a garden and landscape environment. Our hope is to pioneer an approach to cold desert landscape design which will have a wider relevance in the Himalayan region. Global warming is causing the glaciers to retreat and putting the whole area at risk. A University of Greenwich landscape architecture student began work on DWLS in 2012View items...
The poplar and willow replant has continued.
The majority of the vegetable beds in front of the plant nursery have been dug over with manure and reshaped into bays in preparation of planting them up, below left.
I have planted some more flower seedlings and some of the previously planted seedlings are beginning to come through, which is jolly exciting. There’s sunflower,
English marigold and a few as yet un-identified species.
Many of the residences are preparing their flower beds in advance of the garden
competition. It is great to see that many are looking really very neat.
This week has mostly been about planting poplar to replace the dead stock. We have re-planted in the plant nursery, at the top of the residential spine, at the visitor centre and the long strip adjacent to Rancho's cafe as planned.
I am working on a watering rota to discuss with Tsetan as there is now a fair amount to manage ahead of JAINS arrival to get the drip irrigation system tested and commissioned.
A few gaps in the plant nursery fence have been fixed to try to prevent dog incursion. If this works it will avoid needing a whole new fence. The knock-on effect is that the kitchen green waste isn’t getting eaten by the dogs but it is getting a bit smelly so we will need to think about that.
We have got some great shelves in the landscape office and the skeleton of a small table I pulled out of the scrap heap has had a new top put on to it. Everybody wants to use the Landscape Office now.
A long distance (eight kilometer) running competition was organized by the District Youth and Sports Services, Leh, for under seventeens, held in Leh on April 22nd, 2014. About five hundred youths participated in the competition. Ms Yondup Phurbu of class eight and Master Jigmet Norboo of class ten of Druk Padma Karpo School (Druk White Lotus School) came third and sixth respectively. Ms Yondup Phurbu completed the distance in twenty one minutes and eighteen seconds.
The District Police, Leh, organized a painting competition for students on April 21st, 2014, on the theme of "Election", held at the District Police Line, Choklamsar, Leh. In all twenty five students from different schools from Leh participated in the competition. Master Tondup Namgail of class nine and Master Stanzin Norboo of class ten from the Druk Padma Karpo School (Druk White Lotus School) came first and third in the competition.
The School Management Committee and the Principal of the school congratulated the winners in the painting and running competitions. They also appreciated the effort of Ms Mahau Mitra, the art teacher, and Mr Tsering Gyalpo, the physical education teacher, for the outstanding results in their students.
The Poplar cuttings arrived for planned planting next week. We have put them in the water storage basin ahead of planting. They were almost immediately a prop for lots of birds, which was lovely to see and hear.
Tsetan and I went to Nimo nursery on Wednesday to collect some more apricot trees, We managed to get 120 trees. This brings our fruit trees total to about 200.
The plan was to take three days to plant these trees into the nursery and to mulch them and clear up. We got 100 in by the end of Friday, which is pretty good work, especially as it is hard work and although the soil in the nursery has been worked previously there are lots of rocks, some very big, to dig out, and there are other watering duties to do.
I arrived on Saturday morning to discover that the polythene cover to the large polytunnel had blown off in the high winds the previous night and knocked a bunch of pots off with it. It looked like quite a big job to fix but all of a sudden a load of children and their house-mother appeared and made very light work of it in about 5 minutes.
I arrived into Ley safely and with all my luggage and limbs intact. We were taken to the Botho Guesthouse in Shey and rested up on Friday.
Over the week I have met with most of the construction team and school staff and everybody has been really very friendly.
Sadly there is a large loss of trees that were planted last season.
Tsetan showed me around the nursery which is clean and tidy and we had a good walk around site when he showed me areas that he thought needed attention – such as some willow to pollard and reposition and a few soil level changes and plant losses. He talked with me about the planting season for trees, flowers and food and we talked about the season ahead.
Other tasks completed this week include seed collection across site so now we have a healthy supply of ornamental seed.
We have cleared the front nursery beds in preparation (I hope) of planting more fruit tree stock.
Lots of spinach was harvested and sold to the kitchen.
The nursery greenhouse painted and prepared for the visit of His Holiness
The imminent arrival of His Holiness and the ADC event at the end of the week brought about a re¬newed energy and enthusiasm on site this week.
Positive work has continued in the nursery. We have painted the gates and both greenhouses. We have also buried all unnecessary surface irrigation pipework. The store room, shelves and pathways have been cleared and tidied.
Signs were made for the compost bays and I also labelled the vegetables and fruit trees.
Compost bays covered and labelled for ADC event
The Blessing and Inauguration of the Dragon Garden went ahead incredibly well. I had organised for His Holiness to plant an Apple tree in the plant nursery with two of the children to mark the event. His Holiness was very very interested in what had been achieved in the Plant Nursery and what the plans were for the future.
Both His Eminence and His Holiness also delivered speeches which were fully supportive of the work which is happening towards the establishment of the Dragon Garden and implementation of the Mas¬terplan.
The evening was rounded off with a very well prepared dinner in the dining hall.
Figure 1: Clearing works in the classroom area and backfilling of irrigation trenches
Arlene and I finished off the painting of the inside of the walls in the playground area. I have had several conversations with Mohua (the art teacher) about painting dragon murals on these walls. We have agreed that we will do this with the children in September after the ADC.
Figure 2: Red cabbage in the plant nursery
Tsetan and Dorje continue to look after the plants and vegeta¬bles very well and the whole place looks incredibly good for its first planted season.
I think that the landscape project really needs someone who believes in the benefits of the scheme we are trying to implement. Someone who can manage and drive the project forward and understands that the landscape is equally as important as the built form of the school. Effectively a landscape manager to work alongside the Resident Landscape Architects as they come and go and to provide continuity and impetus in the absence of the RLA.
Figure 3: More evidence of healthy vegetable production in the plant nursery.
The school governors are pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Shomie Das, an eminent Indian educationist, as Education Advisor. Mr Das is an alumnus of The Doon School and graduated from the University of Calcutta and the University of Cambridge, UK. Mr Das was Head of the Physics Department at Gordonstoun School and was Principal of Mayo College from 1969 to 1974 and then Headmaster of the Lawrence School, Sanawar, until 1988. He served as Headmaster of The Doon School from 1988 until his retirement in 1995. He is currently the Chairman of Oakridge International School.
Please join us for a fun evening to raise funds for the school's Landscape & Gardens Project on Thursday 27th February at 7pm.
The event is called BRIGHT IDEAS BIG CHANGE and is organised by YTFN, the Youth Funding Network.
Three charitable projects pitch for your £10 entry fee; we want lots of people to pledge their entry fee towards the DWLS project! Plus there is live comedy and music to enjoy.
Venue: London School of Economics, Old Building, Houghton Street, WC2A 2AE, London.
Tickets can be purchased on the door or in advance via http://www.ytfn.org/events/