Harmony Garden teacher information

Harmony is a garden of abundance. The vegetable garden demonstrates traditional growing techniques, with crop rotation of (usually) brassicas, legumes, roots and potatoes. There are soft fruits (strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants and gooseberries) within a netted fruit cage, while pears grow against the tall garden walls.

The mixed flower borders are skilfully laid out to provide an aesthetic frame for the fine Georgian manor house, which stands at the heart of the garden. With its perfect symmetry, it’s one of the best examples of Georgian townhouse architecture in Scotland. There’s no access to its rooms, but pupils can study the exterior.

Harmony Garden and Priorwood Garden are 300 metres from each other, and both are in the care of the National Trust for Scotland. A class can visit both gardens on a half-day visit, or can choose to visit just one.

A school visit offers opportunities for cross-curricular work and engaging with the Curriculum for Excellence. We’re happy to discuss your requirements. 

Possible topics

  • Seasonal vegetable garden
  • Georgian architecture
  • Plants and wildlife

Resources for schools

  • Interpretive panels within the garden
  • Illustrated guidebook
  • Children’s trail
  • Horticultural specialists on site can advise both pupils and teachers on creating or caring for a school garden.

Planning your class visit

  • To book: please contact the Property Manager/Head Gardener.
  • Harmony Garden is open for school visits between April to October.
  • Your pupils may visit Harmony Garden only, or combine it with a visit to Priorwood Garden.
  • Maximum class size: 30 pupils, with a ratio of 1 teacher/adult helper to 10 pupils
  • Access: there’s full access to and in the garden, although some gravel paths and grassy areas may be difficult for wheelchair users.
  • Parking: there’s a large public car/coach park about 250 metres from the garden (opposite Priorwood Garden) in the centre of Melrose.
  • Toilets: there are accessible public toilets about 450 metres from the garden entrance.
  • Refreshments: there’s no café but pupils are welcome to picnic in the garden. It’s a safe enclosed area. We can supply some tables and chairs, if required. You may also use the picnic tables in Priorwood Garden.
  • Clothing: pupils should be dressed appropriately for outdoors.
  • The site has been risk assessed. Teachers should prepare their own risk assessment for the visit.

Charges

  • There’s no admission charge for schools with Trust educational membership.
  • Non-member schools are welcome but there’s an admission charge of £1 per pupil.
  • Accompanying adults are admitted free.
  • All class teachers are encouraged to make a free preparatory visit to the site.

During your class visit

  • on arrival: please bring your class to the main entrance, where you’ll be greeted by a member of staff.
  • A garden tour can take up to 45 minutes. If your pupils are doing a walk and an activity, then allow at least 1 hour. If you also choose to explore Priorwood Garden, allow 1.5–2 hours for your visit. Exact times can be discussed when booking your visit.
  • A class will be split into 2 groups for some activities. The groups may be led by Trust staff or one group may be teacher-led (depending on staff availability). Please discuss this when booking your visit.
  • Teachers are responsible for their pupils and their behaviour.
  • Pupils are welcome to take photos/films. 
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