school garden

school garden

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.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

"Forgive many things in others;

nothing in yourself"

Ansonius- a Roman poet and teacher 310-395AD

 It is a quiet time in the garden as the nights draw in and the days grow shorter but the past few weekends the garden group have been busy tidying up.  One job was to sort out the three large compost bins and make use of the good compost found.

Another important job was to relocate the ornamental banana plant.  It will not tolerate the cold so it had be carefully dug up and placed in a large container.  It has been stored in the summer house for the winter months.

The tetrapanax tree is flowering.  The leaves on the tree are huge and the flowers so small and delicate

Flowers on the tetrapanax tree

The huge leaves

Pansy plants have been placed in the baskets.  After just two days the pigeons had found them and were grazing the leaves.  Something had to be done!

Pigeon proofing the pansy plants!

In the greenhouse the living stones and succulents are thriving.  They do not need watering at this time of the year

Lithops- the living stones

The impressive fish-hook cactus

The moth trap was run on a few calm and warm evenings and this magnificent Cosmopolitan moth was trapped.  A relatively scarce migrant moth to the UK.  It was of course released unharmed along with the others.

Cosmopolitan moth
As the term came to a close the traditional carol service was held in the garden.  The garden group volunteers had floodlit the garden as in previous years. About 100 people turned up for the service and many commented on the excellent performance by the school choir. Prior to setting up the evening sky was spectcular

 Some photographs were taken of the garden with the flash

Tree ferns


Chain fern

The atmosphere was set for the carol service

 The large crowd attending the carol service

 Finally the garden group wish all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Happy Christmas one and all!