school garden

school garden

Monday, 25 May 2015

"Our prime purpose in this life is to help others.

 And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them". 

 Dalai Lama

We must start this blog entry with a huge thank you to all those who kindly donated ferns of all shapes and sizes to the school for planting up in the Jurassic Garden.  We now have enough plants and they have all been positioned where we hope they will have the maximum effect.
An eye-catching shadow from the fern!

The tree fern behind the eggs

A general view across the garden





The hanging baskets have been planted up with the trailing sunflowers 'Inca Gold', which we are trialling this year, and the deep blue lobelia 'Monsoon'. The hanging baskets will be kept in the shelter and warmth of the greenhouse until they have filled out sufficiently and the weather warmed up.

The hanging baskets
Access through the greenhouse will unfortunately be restricted for a few weeks but the plants of interest are still available to look at, or study and draw.

The pond has burst into life with the advent of warmer weather.  A lot of Broad -bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa) dragonflies have been seen emerging and flying around.  The count of four in the air together over the weekend was unprecedented and along with them the first hatched Azure Damselflies (Coenagrion puella)

Freshly emerged dragonfly still drying wings

Male Broad-bodied Chaser

Pond plants are also thriving.  The Water Spearwort appears to be trying to take over the pond.  By next week it should be in flower. The Yellow Flags are flowering now though

Water Spearwort- we await the large yellow buttercup-like flowers

Yellow Flag
Around the garden things are going well.

The flowering Chives look terrific and the bees love them!

Borage flowers are stunning and also attracting bees.
The white clematis

The Ligularias are doing well

Beauty in the grass garden- Briza media and Stipa gigantea
Colour in the greenhouse

The echiums are starting to reach for the sky!

Holly Blue butterfly- they have been very common this Spring

The first painted Lady butterfly of the year has also been recorded in the garden.  Favourable winds for a few days enabled the first of these to arrive on British shores

Painted Lady butterfly

Our potato crops are doing well in both the edible garden and also the World War 2 garden.  The Desiree's have already been earthed up twice and those remaining will be earthed up during the week.

The potato crop!
Finally the school garden will be open on July 4th along with the Friend's fair in the school grounds.  We will be looking for a few helpers.  If anybody can help for a few hours in the garden please let the school office know.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

"Do not judge your neighbour....

...until you walk two moons in his moccasins"

A Cheyenne Indian proverb

The garden group have spent a busy few days in the garden. The biggest project was planting up the large area in the Jurassic garden with lots of ferns.  The ferns for the garden had to be carefully chosen as some like shade only, some like semi-shade and some do not mind a bit of sun on them.  The group have gone for a good mix.  These are Polystichum polyplepharium (Tassel Fern), Matteuccia struthioptaris (Shuttlecock or Ostrich Fern), Dryopteris wallichiana (Wallich Wood Fern),  Woodwardia orientalis (Chain Fern), Dryopteris filix-mas (Male Fern) and Asplenium scolopendrium (Hart's Tongue Fern).

The selected fern mix

Another picture of the fern mix

The egg area has been refreshed with more ferns

Decaying wood- excellent for beetles

An inquisitive snail!


Lovely flowering spikes of Camassia

The clematis 'montana' starting to flower

The white flowering Clematis 'montana'

The edible bed all sown and netted over!
 The edible bed has been sown with carrots, beetroots, cos lettuce, turnips and swiss chard.  We have to cover the bed with net as the pigeons spot anything green.

The family of young Great Tits.
The parents of the young Great Tits have been very busy bringing caterpillars to their seven youngsters.  The young birds are well grown and they should fledge by the end of next week. The young birds have been marked with an individually identifiable ring to track their life histories.

The Desiree potatoes almost ready to earth up


The Pak Choi plants are doing well.
This is the first time that we have tried growing Pak Choi but at the moment all things are going well.  The crop is ready in about 45 days from sowing.  Watch this space!

Bird Cherry

The few Bird Cherry trees which are scattered about the garden are coming into their own.  The magnificent racemes of white flowers are set off against the pale green leaves.  These are one of our most attractive trees in the garden.

Finally although not actually in the school garden if you have not driven to nearby Ferrybridge lately a visit is worthwhile.  The carpet of Thrift is magnificent this year again.  It is too good to miss!





Thursday, 30 April 2015

"The palest ink....

..is better than the best memory"

A Chinese proverb

The garden group met over the weekend to complete outstanding jobs and continue planting and sowing seeds.  The tool shed was refreshed with Harvest Gold preservative and a new bamboo cane rack system was installed along the side which hopefully will keep them tidy.



The edible garden bed was dug over once again and some of our home made compost dug into it.  Whilst transferring the compost a lot of Rose Chafer larvae were discovered.  These are friendly as they convert vegetable matter  into useable compost

Rose Chafer larvae
In the Jurassic garden the tree ferns (Dicksonia antarctica) are doing well and the first fronds now look spectacular as they unfurl.  One plant which we were kindly given has finally showed itself.  We think that it is Umbrella Plant (Dermera peltata). The plant produces small leaves and flowers first and then produces much larger leaves.  We will have to wait and see!

Royal Fern

Tree Fern frond

Umbrella plant (Darmera peltata)- we think!

Nature in action!

Red-tailed Bumblebee

Pitcher plant flowers

Centipede meets large spider!

Repaired bat boxes after woodpecker damage

One of two sunflower plants which were kindly given

Repotted Antler plant

The greenhouse- trailing sunflowers in the foreground
A trial bee hotel was made and within minutes several Red Mason Bees had moved in.  You can just see their heads at the entrance hole


A Rheum palmatum which the garden group had been searching for was finally tracked down and is doing well. The leaves are particularly attractive and the plant will cover a large area when it is fully grown


As the day drew to a close  the sea mist, which had been swirling around the garden all afternoon, turned to steady rain and the group sat for a while watching the raindrops falling onto the pond water

Raindrops on the pond