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Breaking through the tree pits for introduction of drip line in the classroom courtyards

This week has once again been primarily focussed on irrigation installation. The masons and labourers have worked hard at breaking through steps and tree pits and digging metres and metres of trenching through the many inaccessible areas (to the JCB) by hand. Some of the work has been gruelling during a very hot week! We are now backfilling the larger trenches with the JCB and also still hand trenching where necessary. The hand trenching has been a very slow process. The vegetables are looking very good and are coming to fruition. The plants in the nursery in particular are beginning to really develop and the fruit trees are also dong incredibly well. The end of the week saw the final judging of the garden competition. Infants, Juniors and Seniors were presented with their awards for the best gardens.

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Nursery vegetables with irrigation laterals in place

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Senior winning planting scheme

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Irrigation trenching along the Spine

This week saw the continuation of trenching for the irrigation and the first pipes being laid. We have been discussing looking further at the flora in the hills directly around the school and the possibility of removing some plants and seeing whether they will transplant successfully during these summer months.

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The laying of the first mainline pipes for the irrigation system

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Roof detail of roundhouse in the adventure playground

This week the handover began of the Resident Landscape Architect role from Simon Drury-Brown to Paddy Clarke, who will be on site until the end of September. The roundhouse structure is complete providing some much needed shade on site and wonderfully cooling airflow through the structure.

This week several irrigation engineers from Jains arrived on site. We walked the site and marked out the route of the mainline for trenching to begin. Trenching started immediately with Lundup on the JCB. We are all incredibly keen to see the laying of irrigation pipes start!

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Initial trenching for irrigation in front of Naropa Photang

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Adventure Playground 'Roundhouse' going up

We built the frame of the timber roundhouse in the adventure playground, which is looking beautiful. After asking for the housemothers assistance this week they came to help us begin planting flower seedlings on the spine.

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Planting on the residential spine


Unwanted guests

On the vegetable front we have suffered at the hands of lizards, mice and caterpillars having had seed and seedlings eaten...but all a learning process. Now that many of Ladakh's trees and flowers are out in bloom I am reminded of how much beauty there is amongst the native species and what a diverse palate is available to the plantsman.


Native species


Fruits of our labour

This week saw the installation of boxes into the latrines in Residence 4, the idea being that they will be filled with the sawdust from the carpentry workshop. I plan to give the children and housemothers a talk on how to use the latrines, putting a scoop of sawdust down the latrine after use, thus the end-product will be of a better quality than the existing product, the reason being, the carbon of the sawdust helps to breakdown the nitrogen-rich faeces in a carbon-nitrogen balance.


Cuttings pit


We have planted the seedlings in the greenhouses and summer growing area, many vegetables and some melons. It was a fantastic effort getting all the planting done, which was satisfying to all.

The soil is fine and over the years it will get better and better. The trenches have been excellent for seedling development and have provided us with our own seedlings. Now all carriers are full and the total for the greenhouse and summer growing area is more than 70.

We have mulched our fruit tree beds which will help to begin to create better soil and retain moisture – increasingly important as now summer is here, I am also reminded of how strong the sun is and how hot it will get over the next few months.


Rancho's Garden, coffee shop now open

This week has been a good week with continued progression. We finished planting trees in the visitor's centre and have created some small flowerbeds, filling them with flowers beneath. Jigmet of the Visitor Centre has taken full responsibility for irrigating what we have planted this year.

On Monday we went to Taglang-la to collect slate. It was an interesting day and great to see so much beautiful stone all around the mountain. I tried to take two main colours so that a substantial amount was obtained but there is a plethora of available stone up there some in the most beautiful colours.

The tipper standing proudly at Tanglang?la for slate collection


On Friday a delivery from Jains arrived which is a promising sign, their MD from Srinagar is in Ladakh next week and is scheduling a meeting/visit here. Aside from all the seedlings that we planted inside the green house, we have planted a few more trees inside the visitors centre terrace and made use of the plant stock we have been developing, by planting out two borders inside the Visitor Centre.


Monday, 13 May 2013 23:02

Landscape plan for the Dragon Garden

With Simon, as resident landscape architect, and Sarah, as a volunteer landscape architect, work on implementing the plan got off to a great start in the spring of 2013. A plant nursery has been established, a landscape office has been built, the spine path has been planted and work is underway on the terrace in front of the visitor centre. Simon and Sarah will be returning to the UK in mid-summer and their places will be taken by Paddy, as resident landscape architect, and Arlene, as a volunteer landscape architect. Arlene’s trip will be funded by the UK Landscape Institute’s Travel Award. Thank you and good luck to all concerned!

Tuesday, 30 April 2013 00:00

April Tree Planting


In April the entire school observed Plantation Day. Different areas of the school campus as well as the staff quarters were allocated to different classes for planting. Many trees were planted all over the campus.


Wednesday, 17 April 2013 22:59

Spring 2013 in the Dragon Garden


After a cold winter, landscape work resumed in the Spring of 2013. Simon returned for a second period as the resident landcsape architect. He flew to Nepal and travelled to Ladakh on his motor bike. Sarah, also a Greenwich landscape architect, joined him to work as a volunteer landscape architect. The irrigation pipes supplied by Jains can be seen in the background, waiting to be installed in the next month or so. The photographs are both of the nursery compound which was built in 2012 to Simon’s design. This work has to proceed the main planting because Ladakh does not have a nursery industry which could supply trees and other plants.


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