school garden

school garden

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

"Do not let the behaviour of others

destroy your inner peace"

Dalai Lama

Several months after the severe cold winter snaps the garden has responded quickly and having feared the loss of the bananas, cannas and gingers we were delighted to see green shoots as soon as the weather warmed up.  Now the bananas are four feet high and looking good.

The tree ferns have also produced new fresh fronds and enjoy plenty of water

The chain ferns are much slower recovering but they are starting to grow.  Hopefully there will be some new fronds before the NGS weekend in July.

Blue is the colour at the moment and the masses of flowers are magnets for bees.

The very small campanula bee is recorded here.  At around 5 mm long it is a delight to watch as it flies from one flower to another.  At the end of the day it is often possible to see several of these bees in one flower where they spend the night in safety.

Campanula Bee

Red-tailed Bumble Bee

Bees huddled in the flower  
ornamental Banana plant

Canna leaf

Banana leaf

The ornamental banana plant is thriving in the warm weather and grows a new leaf each week.  The decorative canna alongside it has a matching design.

The herb bed is doing well and the thyme attracts many bees to the small purple flowers

The newly planted bed at the back of the garden has many insect friendly plants in it and is maturing well.  The wall has recently been repaired and the workmen were careful where they put their feet and we thank them for that!

The potato crop is doing well. 
The rambling rose has produced many flowers this year

The ox-eye daisies were grown from seed three years ago and this year they have flowered well.

The garden group meet most sunday afternoons and are always looking for extra hands.  Even just mowing the grass would help at this busy time.  The children use the garden at this time of year enjoying outdoor lessons in the willow classroom and a chance to be with nature- be it a bug hunt or pond dipping! 

Friday, 30 March 2018

"Hatred is an affair of the heart;

contempt is that of the head"

Arthur Schopenhaur- a German philosopher 1788-1860

 The recent poor weather gave the garden group a chance to tidy the sheds and clean up the tools ready for the 2018 season.  All the various nuts, bolts, screws and fittings were all sorted into compartments for finding quickly when needed.

Sorting out the various nuts, bolts screws and fittings

A clean and tidy shed

In the back corner a very large spider was disturbed- probably one of the Tegenaria species.  It did not stop long enough to clinch identification

A large Tegenaria spider

The potatoes had been left to chit for a couple of weeks and were thought large enough to plant.  Early varieties of Desiree and Maris Piper were chosen for this year.  Compost was dug into the trench before planting to hopefully enhance yield!

The red Desiree potatoes and the Maris Piper potatoes below
 The potato patch all planted up and labelled.  Hopefully we can deter the local black cat from scratching about in it!

Our potato patch

The daffodils have done well this year and two varieties in particular have excelled.  'Jetfire' bulbs were planted in pots and 'Sailboat' bulbs which were planted directly in the new bee friendly bed at the back of the garden under the wall

'Jetfire' variety

'Sailboat' variety

The crocus flowers were late appearing once the snow had melted but this year very few bumble bees were seen feeding in them.. Hopefully the bees were not lured out by the previous week of fine and warm weather only to succumb to the cold.  Last Sunday though queen Buff-tail and Red-tail bumble bees were seen in the garden so hopefully most have survived.

A ring of blue crocus flowers

delightful cream crocus flowers

The raspberry canes were thinned out and weeded with just twelve plants replaced. 

The revitalised raspberry bed

The soil has been too wet to do any digging and still too cold to think about planting any early vegetables.  With April approaching and hopefully warmer weather these  jobs can take place.

The garden group always welcomes new helpers.  The small group who tend the school garden for the enrichment of the lives of the children (be it mini-beast hunts or looking for the signs of Spring) meet most Sunday afternoon.  If you are interested please leave your details in the school office so that we can contact you.

Monday, 19 February 2018

"Climb the mountain so that you can see the world..

...not so that the world can see you"

An old Chinese proverb

During half term essential repairs were continued and work started to make good and prepare the garden for the Spring.

The wind turbine repair was finished thanks to our good friends Chesterton and Matthews in Old Parish Lane who  supplied two lengths of 9ft scaffold pipe and two clamps. The turbine should now stand up to a very severe gale!

The scaffolding is clamped to the turbine post

The finished work- properly braced against the weather

Back in action!
Work was carried out behind the garden toilet. The water butts had slipped off of their pedestals and the area needed tidying up. The butts were laid on some paving slabs and refitted to the down pipe on the toilet. All was working well when we left and water was running into the system.

The water butts made good again

A general tidying up of the area was also made

The tangled web of Brambles and Ivy which had encroached around the water butts has been removed.

The first frogspawn of the year was noted in the pond on Thursday February 8th. Over the next week a considerable amount of spawn had been laid and a maximum count of 63 frogs were counted. Some activity was still noted on the 18th although the number of frogs in the pond had considerably dropped off. There are a lot of frog pictures and we make no apology for this!

Further evidence that Spring is approaching .  The garden is coming back to life after what seemed to be a very long winter

Hazel catkins

Early Crocus flowers

Crocus close up

Tete-a-tete daffodils in the raised bed

A single blue Crocus

Finally a recent discovery in the Jurassic garden has been further explored by year 3.  Just what else is lurking in the garden and waiting to be discovered!

The recent excavation in the Jurassic Garden

A formidable looking creature!

The garden group always welcomes new helpers.  If you are interested in helping  please leave your name in the school office and we can get in touch with you.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

"Fast is fine...

but accuracy is everything"

Xenophon - a 4th century Historian, philosopher, and soldier. A follower of Plato and a student of Socrates.

The storms which hit Weymouth during January left their mark in the school garden. Storm Dylan inflicted the worst damage though. The tetrapanix had all of its' leaves stripped off and now looks a little sad but new leaves will sprout once the weather warms up.

The leaf scars on the tetrapanax trunk
At the other end of the garden the fierce winds ripped the roofing felt off of the tool shed to reveal some rotten wood underneath.  The roof frame had to be repaired before new felt was positioned.

The exposed shed roof once the felt was removed

Rotten timber

Even worse rotten timber!
New felt and timber was sourced and the repair undertaken in one afternoon so as to keep the shed watertight.

Old rotten wood being removed and replaced

Carefully measuring out the roof felt

The first layer safely it situ

The view from the top!

The roof made good again!
Spring flowers have come early again this year.  The Pulmonaria- much favoured by early waking bees is in profusion around the garden.


Early daffodils

More daffodils
 The daffodils seem to flower earlier and earlier as the years go by.

The first crocuses in flower- again favoured by bumble bees
Another project undertaken was the repair of the wind vane/ power generator . The blades had two fractures in them and were causing imbalance. The whole thing was carefully taken down, serviced then repaired and re-positioned in one afternoon.

Carefully lowered

Cleaned and serviced

The fracture awaiting repair
Re-positioned as the sun was setting

Temporary bracing till next weekend when a more permanent fix will be made
The 'paper bark' birch tree looking resplendent in the winter sunshine

Tree ferns all wrapped up to protect the crown from frost
Finally the Corsican Hellabore is in flower.  This magnificent plant was given to us by our friends from Abbotsbury Gardens and it is thriving well.

Corsican Hellabore
Work continues during the winter period and the pond area is the next on the list. Alien plants are smothering the native ones around the pond edges and this needs to be sorted! Our bees and hoverflies prefer native species and are often specialists to just a single plant genus- the campanula bee - at just 4mm long- is a good example of this.  Unknown in the garden until we introduced suitable plants it has now been recorded many times.