school garden

school garden

Thursday, 2 July 2015

"The only time you should ever look back..

..is to see far you have gone"

An unknown quote.

Bearing this in mind it was a week ago last year when Henry arrived with his mini digger to clear and level the Jurassic garden area.



After a lot of hard work and generosity from many friends and local organisations we have now reached the stage where have our Jurassic garden.  It is only the first year but next year should be much better with more luxuriant grown and stature which will show off our planting regime much better.




In the greenhouse a spider is living a very precarious life. It has built a web inside the trumpet of the pitcher itself. The web was carefully positioned across the top of the pitcher.  If the spider made a mistake moving about inside the pitcher it would itself become prey- to the plant!

The spider living inside the pitcher!

The hanging basket flowers

 The hanging baskets have survived the first winds and are beginning to grow well.  The planting this year has been lobelia 'monsoon' and the new 'inca gold' trailing sunflowers.  At the moment the combination seems to work well.  Behind it the rambling rose and clematis add a further splash of colour.


The rambling rose
 The rambling rose, now in the fourth year, has produced a lot of scented blossom this year.  The perfume can be smelt whilst walking up the path and under the pergola



The penstemmon bed

The bees are very fond of these flowers

The flowering eryngium- a lovely steel blue

After three years the Eryngiums have flowered.  It was not a high success rate though as five plants were initially bought but only two have made it to flowering.


The kiwi plant flowers - they do not last long!
A casual glance at the frog house found several small frogs the size of a thumb nail but behind it amongst the vegetation the magnificent dragonfly was spotted.  It had recently emerged from the pond and was pumping up and drying its' wings-  it is a Southern Aeshna


Southern Aeshna
 Over the next few days the group will be getting the garden ready for the school fair on Saturday July 4th so do wander up the drive and look around.  There will be much to see and perhaps a few games to try out!


Monday, 15 June 2015

"Don't look now.....

..I'm right behind you"

A lyric by Laurie Anderson from "Pictures" on the excellent Brian Eno/Peter Schwalm album 'Drawn from Life'

Over the weekend the garden group were very busy.  Activities were curtailed for a while with the unexpected arrival of two intruders. A disturbance behind the eco-loo revealed a Velociraptor. These dinosaurs hunted by stealth.  Sudden movement had to be avoided!

The Velociraptor
Amongst the ferns more disturbance revealed a stalking T Rex. Luckily it was walking away from us

The stalking T Rex
Once calm had resumed the group continued with the gardening. The vegetable area is slowly coming along and with the warmer weather the plants are growing well.

The Pak Choi- netted because the Pigeons have developed a taste for it!

 Carrots, Beetroot,Cos lettuce, Turnips and Swiss Chard all doing well

The Desiree potatoes are in flower

The Runner Beans are finally climbing up the bamboos
In the flower beds blue is the colour of the month. A dazzling display from the geraniums and the campanulas is attracting a lot of bees into the garden


Geranium 'Rozanne'



Dwarf campanula

Tall bellflower with stunning blooms
It is hoped that the variety of campanulas now growing in the garden will attract the small black bee which feeds on these species.  We have not recorded it to date but are hoping that it will turn up pretty soon.

By the Stumpery the wild dog-rose has flowered.  A simple flower but very attractive

The Dog-Rose
The Tree ferns are doing well well thanks to a lot of regular watering which is essential in the first year of planting.  The trunks are like giant sponges and take in a lot of water.  This makes sure that the plant takes root and also provides for the growing of the magnificent fronds.


Tree fern fronds

The evening sun back lighting the tree fern
During the gardening our Robin often became very friendly perching as close to us as possible as we disturbed the ground.  It quickly nipped in for small caterpillars and other wriggly things!  It was feeding  youngsters just over the fence




In the World War 2 garden the James Grieve apple tree has plenty of fruit on his year

Fruit on the James Grieve apple tree
As the garden group packed up for the day there was a noisey disturbance behind the eco-loo.  The Velociraptor had woken up!

Time to go!

Monday, 25 May 2015

"Our prime purpose in this life is to help others.

 And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them". 

 Dalai Lama

We must start this blog entry with a huge thank you to all those who kindly donated ferns of all shapes and sizes to the school for planting up in the Jurassic Garden.  We now have enough plants and they have all been positioned where we hope they will have the maximum effect.
An eye-catching shadow from the fern!

The tree fern behind the eggs

A general view across the garden





The hanging baskets have been planted up with the trailing sunflowers 'Inca Gold', which we are trialling this year, and the deep blue lobelia 'Monsoon'. The hanging baskets will be kept in the shelter and warmth of the greenhouse until they have filled out sufficiently and the weather warmed up.

The hanging baskets
Access through the greenhouse will unfortunately be restricted for a few weeks but the plants of interest are still available to look at, or study and draw.

The pond has burst into life with the advent of warmer weather.  A lot of Broad -bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa) dragonflies have been seen emerging and flying around.  The count of four in the air together over the weekend was unprecedented and along with them the first hatched Azure Damselflies (Coenagrion puella)

Freshly emerged dragonfly still drying wings

Male Broad-bodied Chaser

Pond plants are also thriving.  The Water Spearwort appears to be trying to take over the pond.  By next week it should be in flower. The Yellow Flags are flowering now though

Water Spearwort- we await the large yellow buttercup-like flowers

Yellow Flag
Around the garden things are going well.

The flowering Chives look terrific and the bees love them!

Borage flowers are stunning and also attracting bees.
The white clematis

The Ligularias are doing well

Beauty in the grass garden- Briza media and Stipa gigantea
Colour in the greenhouse

The echiums are starting to reach for the sky!

Holly Blue butterfly- they have been very common this Spring

The first painted Lady butterfly of the year has also been recorded in the garden.  Favourable winds for a few days enabled the first of these to arrive on British shores

Painted Lady butterfly

Our potato crops are doing well in both the edible garden and also the World War 2 garden.  The Desiree's have already been earthed up twice and those remaining will be earthed up during the week.

The potato crop!
Finally the school garden will be open on July 4th along with the Friend's fair in the school grounds.  We will be looking for a few helpers.  If anybody can help for a few hours in the garden please let the school office know.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

"Do not judge your neighbour....

...until you walk two moons in his moccasins"

A Cheyenne Indian proverb

The garden group have spent a busy few days in the garden. The biggest project was planting up the large area in the Jurassic garden with lots of ferns.  The ferns for the garden had to be carefully chosen as some like shade only, some like semi-shade and some do not mind a bit of sun on them.  The group have gone for a good mix.  These are Polystichum polyplepharium (Tassel Fern), Matteuccia struthioptaris (Shuttlecock or Ostrich Fern), Dryopteris wallichiana (Wallich Wood Fern),  Woodwardia orientalis (Chain Fern), Dryopteris filix-mas (Male Fern) and Asplenium scolopendrium (Hart's Tongue Fern).

The selected fern mix

Another picture of the fern mix

The egg area has been refreshed with more ferns

Decaying wood- excellent for beetles

An inquisitive snail!


Lovely flowering spikes of Camassia

The clematis 'montana' starting to flower

The white flowering Clematis 'montana'

The edible bed all sown and netted over!
 The edible bed has been sown with carrots, beetroots, cos lettuce, turnips and swiss chard.  We have to cover the bed with net as the pigeons spot anything green.

The family of young Great Tits.
The parents of the young Great Tits have been very busy bringing caterpillars to their seven youngsters.  The young birds are well grown and they should fledge by the end of next week. The young birds have been marked with an individually identifiable ring to track their life histories.

The Desiree potatoes almost ready to earth up


The Pak Choi plants are doing well.
This is the first time that we have tried growing Pak Choi but at the moment all things are going well.  The crop is ready in about 45 days from sowing.  Watch this space!

Bird Cherry

The few Bird Cherry trees which are scattered about the garden are coming into their own.  The magnificent racemes of white flowers are set off against the pale green leaves.  These are one of our most attractive trees in the garden.

Finally although not actually in the school garden if you have not driven to nearby Ferrybridge lately a visit is worthwhile.  The carpet of Thrift is magnificent this year again.  It is too good to miss!