school garden

school garden

Friday, 9 June 2017

"Change is inevitable..

progression is choice"

The blossom this Spring was again spectacular as the cherry trees at the back of the garden and the other smaller fruit trees lit up the garden with fantastic flowers.

The emergence of the blossom brought with it the bees who feasted on the pollen.  Many early species were noted including Andrena clarkella, Andrena fulva and Andrena cineraria.  The garden group have recently purchased three more apple tress to plant in the orchard area.  This should be done within the next week or so.

Other spring flowers which brought colour and interest to the garden were;

In the pond the Marsh Marigolds continue to expand on the bankside. Unfortunately the flowers do not last long

Marsh Marigold

The ornamental banana plant which has spent the winter indoors in the shelter of the HQ shed has been put back out.  Within two weeks it had grown two new leaves.  It continues to be a focal point in the garden

In the nest box the Blue Tits again moved in and initially laid ten eggs but only six hatched.  The female is a bird which had been ringed in the garden the previous winter.

The eggs are often covered when the bird is away from the nest

The Great Tits nested in one of the bat boxes in the Jurassic Garden.  Last weekend the young birds could be heard calling for food from around the garden.

The cycad plant has been moved to a sunnier and warmer position.  It was showing signs of stress so has been moved a short distance away.

The replanted cycad  

The tree ferns have had their old fronds removed and are being watered regularly to promote new growth.  These magnificent ferns are unusual in that the trunk of the 'tree' is actually the roots.  They are slow growing- about an inch a year.

Below them the chain ferns are now growing well after two years and are looking healthy.  They also like their roots damp.

The group have been busy the past couple of weeks constructing a mud kitchen for the pupils to use. The frame of this project has been recycled pallets.  The sink has been recycled from a nearby scrap metal merchant and the pots and pans given by kind donation.  The work is almost done with the sink being fitted last weekend.

Stage one of the construction
The sink in position

The mud kitchen work site
Finally the best has been saved till last.  After nurturing the bird of paradise plant for a couple of years the garden group were rewarded a week or so ago by the most magnificent flower.  Over the past week it has continued to open.  One young lad at the school likened to a crazy hair cut!

The force ten gale which blasted the school garden this week did a little damage but it is hoped to tidy this up and make good this next weekend.

The garden group always welcome new helpers with an interest in gardening.  Why not join us?

Monday, 27 March 2017

"Real knowledge is to know the extent

of one's ignorance"


The fine weather over the weekend meant that a lot of outstanding jobs in the garden could be executed.  One of the jobs was the rebuilding of the raised bed in the church funded area of the garden.  The old wooden retaining posts had come to the end of their days and need replacing urgently before the bed collapsed. This area is the only place in the garden where we record the Lesser Stag Beetle.

The old rotten posts are removed for recycling

Half way through the renovation

The finished raised bed with new posts

The bee and butterfly beds also received a lot of attention.  Tidying up, weeding and replanting all took place over the weekend

Over the weekend several species of bee were recorded- buff-tailed, white-tailed and red-tailed bumble bees, andrena clarkella and the handsome Tawny Mining -bee Andrena fulva.  A couple of early wasps were also noted and Peacock and Small Tortoishell butterflies.

Andrena clarkella

Red-tailed Bumble bee

White-tailed Bumble bee

Work started on the willow classroom which has an annual haircut at this time of year to help regain the original shape.   Many of the smaller whips were bundled and put in a bucket to root as infill when the repair work starts in earnest next month.  Larger lengths of willow will be sourced from nearby Abbotsbury Swannery.
Th willow cuttings
Cutting back to shape

At least three pairs of Robins have territories which abut in the garden.  One pair is nesting behind the sheds just over the wall.  They are all very confiding and are always keen to spot garden volunteers as they know that there will be a good chance of an easy meal

One of our friendly Robins
With Spring now well underway the Blue Tits and Great Tits are sorting out who moves into which nest box.  The Blue tits have staked their original claim.  They have nested in here for four years now.  The Great tits have settled for the box by the sheds.

The female Blue tit checking things out!
 In the tropical bed the Melianthus is flowering.  This magnificent lush plant enjoys the sunny position here and is covered with pendulous purple flowers

Melianthus major

The banana plants are making strong growth after the winter months
Many of the early spring flowers are now going over.  This year we have had stunning displays of daffodils and crocus.  The small iris reticulata were the best for several years but alas they do not last long!

Crocus and daffodils

A crocus ring

iris reticulata

Minature tete-a-tetes

The Rheum palmatum is growing well.
 As Sunday drew to a close white whisps of cloud appeared to end what had been a very constructive and busy weekend.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

"An ounce of practice..

is worth more than a ton of preaching"


The weather warmed up considerably over the weekend and allowed some work to continue in the garden.  The enhancement and repair work for the willow classroom continued with a start being made on shredding the smaller branches.  The shredded bark has been distributed in the woodland walk to improve the path through there.

The warmer weather has triggered the frogs!  A slight change in water temperature and they come from nowhere and start laying frogspawn.   This year we have more than ever before which means that our pond and garden are in a very healthy state and frogs are surviving to return to their native pond.  A lot of pictures of the frogs but they have a magnetic appeal about them splashing and croaking in the pond.

In the greenhouse the crassulas are flowering well now.  we have waited a couple of years for this event.  The small, simple delicate flowers are pleasing to the eye

The sundew plants and venus fly traps are also awakening from the winter shutdown

Elsewhere Spring is in the air.  The Corsican Hellabore is in flower and nearby a lot of Pulmonaria is in flower.  This plant produces early flowers for bees.  There are few other options available for the bees at this time of year

On a Calendula flower an Angle Shades moth caterpillar was basking in the sunshine

Daffodils, yellow and blue crocuses are now flowering and the few bees and hoverflies on the wing were visiting them on Saturday afternoon.  Also seen was a Peacock and a Small Tortoisehell butterfly

Finally our Echium russula plants are doing well in the cold frame.  These will be transplanted out later and the bees will enjoy them