school garden

school garden

Sunday, 22 February 2015

"It is easier to forgive an enemy..

..... than forgive a friend"

William Blake


Half term week started with the delivery from  Moatt Sails on Portland who have been constructing the main element of the Pteranodon which will feature in the Jurassic Garden - although of course the Pteranodon is from the Cretaceous period - the sight of a sinister flying reptile overhead will hopefully spark debate and discussion amongst staff and pupils.

The base element of the Pteranodon

Another view of this beautifully crafted object

The base element was suspended on several strong wires to the four scaffolding poles.  It was decided to elevate the head and one wing  to give a more realistic impression of flight.

The mock up of the head made from cardboard

The mock up cardboard head and bill in position
Following a constructive discussion and a few modifications the group then returned to the work bench and constructed a head and bill shape in marine plywood.

Marine plywood being shaped with the jig saw

The mock up of the plywood head in position
Two days later the head had been finished.  The marine ply stained to match the body


The finished head


The Pteranadon in full flight!


We found some three pronged hoes which served for the forelimbs. Some minor modification was needed but they were quickly fitted at the leading edges of the wings.  We are working on the feet and hope to have this last detail sorted very soon.

Elsewhere we were pleased to see that the delightful Iris reticulata had flowered.  If you wander round the garden around the grass bed please watch your feet! They are very small and easily missed

The spendid Iris reticulata

It was decided that the time was right to start the seed potatoes off.  Stood carefully in egg boxes they should start to chit. Recent thought is that this process is unnecessary but as traditionalists we follow our hearts!

Desiree seed potatoes in the greenhouse


We are still waiting for three days good dry weather so that the final top layer of stone can be delivered and tamped down on the paths around the Jurassic Garden.  Maybe next weekend......

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

"In criticising......

the teacher is only trying to teach. That's all!"

A Tibetan proverb

Work continued over the weekend on the Jurassic Garden. With the four scaffold poles now firmly concreted in the next stage was to drill holes in the top of them and fix stainless steel bolts to secure the block and clip on the pulley wheels ready to hold the giant Pterodactyl
Pulley wheel in position at the top of the pole
Once this task was done the group started to tidy up the last bit of the Jurassic Garden.  The pile of old timbers were sorted and stacked elsewhere to be used another day.  Timbers not thought useful were put to one side to be recycled.  After this the area was dug over and then a special drench hose was buried in the area ready to assist in drier weather with the aim of keeping the fern and other plants damp once planted up.

Stacked and sorted timbers

The drench hose ready to be buried

The hose in position and the ground leveled

Timber for recycling
The cleared area is now ready to be planted up at the end of March.  We have been given a few luxuriant plants and these are held ready in the greenhouse but we will need more funding for a lot more plants- in particular some magnificent tree ferns.  We also need a Ginkgo tree and plenty of tall shuttlecock ferns. These do not come cheap!

Around the garden a Peacock butterfly was spotted and another Buff-tailed Bumblebee was on the wing. Some of the smaller bulbs planted in the grass are starting to wake up.

Our first Crocuses of the year

A delightful fungus- possibly Pezeza cerea

Snowdrops showing in the Memory Garden

Newly planted ferns in the wall

Stunning dead heads of the Globe Artichoke flowers

The head in close-up
At the end of the day an intrepid tree climber scaled the large sycamore tree which is the centre point of the Jurassic Garden and kindly took a few pictures for us.  It gave yet another dimension on the school garden.

The Ammonite shape from vertically above

The dinosaur nest area- where the pterodactyl will be postioned

Looking up the garden
Towards the Eco-loo
In two weeks it is hoped to arrange delivery of the final top layer of crushed stone to finish off the whole area.With bees and butterflies on the wings we are now looking forward to Spring!

Sunday, 1 February 2015

"Dig your well....

... before you are thirsty"

A quote by Seth Godin.

Over the past ten days the garden group could be excused for digging wells in the school garden.  With the very kind donation of four x four metre scaffolding poles we were able to push on with the construction of the Jurassic Garden.  Each pole has to be sunk in the ground one metre deep and that takes quite a lot of effort in the heavy soil which we have.  In all four holes were required.  On top of that each pole has to be slanted at ten degrees away from the upright.  All in all a quite demanding operation which needs concentration and a lot of discipline.


A metre deep hole is longer than your arm!

A good mix is essential


Filling the hole


In place- with the ten degree slant
The poles must be in the exact position as they will suspend a giant Pterodactyl which will be flying over the nest chamber area. There is no room for error for this task. A few pictures of the progress. By the end of the day all four poles were in position.

Three poles in situ

Four poles in situ

All in place and tools tidied up

The limestone moved and area landscaped


Elsewhere in the garden a Buff-tailed Bumblebee was seen flying just days after
a frost and even a Peacock butterfly.  These insects should be hibernating but are tricked by the mild weather recently.  Hopefully they will not get caught out in a severe cold snap and perish.

The stunned female Blackbird
 In the garden three male Blackbirds were observed vying for territory.  The single female amongst them was getting chased about considerably flying round and round the willow classroom.  After a while we noticed her just sat motionless on the path outside the summerhouse.  She was completely dazed.  It was possible to pick her up.  It would appear that in the chase she had flown into one of the windows of the summer house and fell to the ground.  She was put in a safe place and after ten minutes perked up and flew off back into the battle arena!

Hazel catkins

A close-up
 In the greenhouse the sweet peas are growing well.  Soon they will be stopped to prevent them getting too tall.  It will help them bush out to make better and stronger plants when we put them outside.


Native Hellabore in flower

Corsican Hellabore in the greenhouse- in flower

Exquisite flowers- green but full of interest

The Blackbirds have left the shallots alone which we planted last week.  They are very good at pulling them up.  Next to these the Rhubarb has been covered to force the stems for an early crop


Our shallots have survived interest from Blackbirds
The Daffodils are also doing very well.  More and more are appearing.  A few Crocus are also shooting up.


The almost full moon suggests colder nights so things might slow a little in the garden.  The next stage is to get the Pterodactyl template sorted.  Interesting times ahead!

Sunday, 18 January 2015

'Fear the wolf in front

 and the tiger behind'

A Chinese saying.

With the fine weather continuing the Garden Group have continued work catching up with outstanding jobs. One outstanding job was to create a small fence panel at the entrance- hopefully hiding the immediate view of the Jurassic garden.  With tall planting behind it will help screen the view.  The last bits of the old swimming pool fence were stripped down and reformed to create this panel.  This means that we have managed to upcycle the entire old fence and with just a few 4 inch posts left - which we will use in the compost area upgrade shortly.

the old swimming pool gates


Salvaging the uprights

Just enough for the new panel!
The fence panel was quickly put together and before long was positioned by the entrance gate


 

Work then moved to the 'pencil' fence at the herb garden.  With the concrete set the section was replaced and all looked good once again


The refurbished 'pencil' fence

 The recent storm force winds which hit the south coast took their toll on the greenhouse.  The morning after revealed that 10 of the laminate sheets had been blown out. Eight of the sheets were found nearby but two were missing.  Once the eight had been repositioned a search was made for the other two.  They were found over the wall and collected later that same day.  The greenhouse is now complete again and we have run  some strong wires along it to hopefully prevent the sheets flying away again

The 40 mph gusts around midnight can be seen

The missing roof panel



They they are!



Wires to hopefully strengthen the laminate sheets

It is that time of year again.  The first daffodil was out fully this year on the 12th January

Our first Daffodil for 2015!

With the flowers tempting Spring so were the birds. The Blue Tits were busy and the female was spotted checking out the nestbox

Anybody in?

Just testing the entrance hole
Great Tits were busy too and two males were establishing territory while the female was seen trying out the damaged bat boxes. Our plants are also doing well.

Tea plants are developing lateral buds

A colourful Winter Pansy



Our Banana Plants



We now await a fine dry weekend for the final delivery of stone to make good the paths.  The cold frame can then be delivered and set in position - all ready for the Spring planting!