school garden

school garden

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

"When you try to control everything... enjoy nothing"


The garden has seen a lot of activity over the past two weekends.  On the first weekend in conjunction with the Friend's Summer Fayre the School Jurassic Garden was officially opened and handed over to the pupils who we hope will enjoy it and learn from it.  Dr Phil Sterling was asked to open the garden for us.  Phil was the perfect link between  Dorset County Council, the environment and the natural history which abounds in the garden. Phil's role within the County Council is Coast and Countryside Service Manager and he was well suited for the task. The head teacher Mrs Fiona Daykin  helped Phil with the ribbon cutting celebration.  Once the ribbon had been cut the children shot into the garden like coiled springs eager to see what was within!

Dr Phil Sterling and the Headteacher cutting the ribbon!

Aferwards Phil gave us a masterclass in micro-lepidoptera- his subject, showing us the underside of leaves and the many species of micro-moth eggs and small caterpillars which reside there.  He finished the afternoon with a glorious show of moths which he had trapped the night before from nearby.  These included hawkmoths and other brightly coloured specimens.

A Jurassic Garden scene
Elephant Hawk moths

A week later the garden was host again for the National Garden Scheme which raises money for charity.  The is was our fifth year of opening to the public and we were pleasantly surprised to receive a certificate from Mrs Di Reeds, the publicity and media officer of the Dorset  NGS for our efforts and money raised to date.

The garden volunteers accepting the NGS certificate from Di Reeds( second left)

Visitors enjoying the fine summer weather

Pausing  in the shade of the willow classroom

The grass garden backlit at the end of the afternoon

The moth trap was set the previous evening and visitors were delighted to see many colourful moths.  The best catch was this magnificent  Privet Hawk moth

Privet Hawk moth

Curious skull shape on the thorax

A stunning insect

Swallowtail moth

The Herald
With the pressure off the garden group has been tidying and making good ready for the summer

The runner beans are doing well

The celeriac plants have been trimmed to promote the root

French Beans almost ready for picking!
 Finally as the group were packing up one volunteer spotted a very interesting insect on one of the Canna leaves.  It was like a small jewel with a green thorax and blue abdomen.  It was discovered under the stereo microscope  to be a small sub-social bee- Lasioglossum smeathmanellum.  This was a new bee for the garden list and was joined earlier today by a new butterfly for the garden- a Marbled White which put in a brief appearance before visiting the Purple Loosestrife on the pond and disappearing as quickly as it appeared!

Lasioglossum smeathmanellum

Showing the metallic green thorax and blue abdomen

It is that time of year when we say goodbye to the senior pupils who move on to the next rung of the education ladder.  We wish them well and hope that they have enjoyed their time at Holy Trinity and enjoyed the learning from the garden during their stay. 

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Garden Open Day

This Saturday, 9th July, the Friends of the school are holding the annual Summer Fayre.  In conjunction with this the school garden will be open as well and we are taking the opportunity at this event to officially open the Jurassic Garden. This has been two years in the making but finally after many  hours of work and the kindness of local businesses we are now in a position to hand the garden over to the pupils, who originally requested it, so that it will become a study aid for them.

Dr Phil Sterling, the Coast and Countryside Service Manager at Dorset County Council, has agreed to open the garden for us.  Dr Sterling is much respected lepidopterist and entomologist and it is intended to exhibit at the event a sample of moths from the area.  The moth traps will be run the previous night and in the afternoon  we hope that large hawk moths and other colourful night time fliers will be on display.

The garden will be opened at 14.15.  We look forward to seeing you there

Saturday, 2 July 2016

"The great advantage of speaking the truth...

is that you do not have to remember what you said"

An anonymous quote

The garden group are slowly getting on top of the rapid growth spurts in the plants following the gentle rain and the warmer nights.

The blog starts with the discovery of a new bee to the garden which was found last weekend by one keen eyed member.  It was the Wool Carder Bee (Anthinium manicatum)  It is one of the largest solitary bees and the male of the species is very aggressive in defending the territory.  All species are chased away and the male has persuasive spikes at the base of the abdomen to assist him!

Wool Carder Bee

Some friends of the garden who regularly help out at open days have kindly donated a table and six chairs.  This welcome gift will be re-invigorated with teak oil and then be able to be enjoyed by all.

our new table and chairs

In the Jurassic Garden the Chain Ferns are finding their feet and the stunning tetrapanax tree has made a lot of rapid growth over the past week.  This tree has the most bizarre downy leaves as they emerge

Jurassic Garden view

the huge tetrapanax leaves

A new leaf

New leaves emerging
The vegetable patch is doing well and the carrots and the turnips will need thinning out next weekend.

The Pak Choi grow very fast but the pigeons love them!

Flower Sprouts

Some of  small  echium plants last year set seed and they are themselves now flowering.  The bees were quick to find them


Pink Gaura


Clustered Campanulas

The blue bed
 In the greenhouse the papyrus plants have been thinned and transplanted into bigger pots.  We need a lot of warm weather now to make them grown into giant size plants!

Papyrus plants

Venus fly-trap plants doing well 

Rogersia in flower


Fruiting buds on the Amelanchier bush
Finally on a more sombre note the anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Somme has taken place.  In our barley bed the poppies have flowered.  Time to reflect and a reminder to us all of the horrors of war.

Poppies in the barley bed

The  garden will be open on July 9th in conjunction with the Friends Day at the school.  Do pop up and see what has been going on since last year.  The Jurassic Garden will also be officially opened.  We look forward to seeing you there.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

"Integrity is doing the right thing...

.. even when no one is watching"

C.S. Lewis

The warmer weather and gentle rain has ensured that the plants in the garden have put a growth spurt on and many now are in flower.  We hope that they will remain in flower for the open day which looms ever closer!

The blue bed in particular is looking stunning with an array of blue flowers which on warm days are covered in bees and other pollinating insects.


Bell flowered campanula


Anchusa azurea

Small flowered campanula


Cupid's Dart

 Around the Jurassic garden the ferns and the pseudopanax and tetrapanax are doing well and the 'tropical border' is filling out well with the banana plants reaching up with new luxuriant leaves.

The rheum and ligularias are thriving

The tropical bed

Giant chain fern under the tree fern

 The newly planted ornamental banana plant is enjoying the outside life. It has been planted among cannas and other 'hot ' flowering plants

The ornamental banana plant

A beautiful canna
 Behind the pond the woodland path has been re-opened.  The cow parsley has been particularly thick this year and it took a while to cut a way through but now access is provided along the fence line

the re-opened woodland walk

Yellow Flag and Ragged Robin at the pond edge

The wretched duckweed on the pond needs managing !

Slow worm found in the greenhouse

The newly positioned hanging baskets.

This male blackbird followed the lawn mower chasing disturbed food items!
The broad beans and potatoes in the WW2 garden

The Desiree crop of potatoes is in full flower
 A casual glance at the Asparagus plants revealed that we had been infested with Asparagus Beetles.  Not a garden friendly insect but nevertheless an attractive one!

Asparagus Beetle