school garden

school garden

Saturday, 21 March 2015

"You cannot open a book....

...without learning something"

A quote from Confucius

The garden group has been busy making some purpose built compost bins.  The plastic ones did not seem to work that well so we decided to make some traditional bins.  It will enable us to turn the compost regularly and get it back onto the plots

The compost bins will be finished next weekend. We have used decking planks as they hopefully will last for many years.

Elsewhere we have start planting up ready for the Jurassic garden ferns and trees.  The first plants to go in were the Fatsias and the Corsican Hellabore.

Next weekend we will plant out the Banana plants and some of the smaller ferns.

Spring continues in the garden with many flowers now showing.  The Pulmonarias are useful at this time of the year for early bees.


The first Cellandine of the year

Anemone blanda - delightful flowers!

Buff-tailed Bumblebee basking in the sun


One of the clumps of Primroses
Finally viewing of the eclipse over Weymouth was hindered by cloud cover but now and again the sun did shine through. A couple of quick 'grab shots' were taken at one of these brief showings

Details of the proposed Easter holiday working party will be posted next time.  Come along and enjoy the birdsong, the butterflies and the bees!

Sunday, 8 March 2015

"Beware of the man who does not talk...

..and the dog that does not bark"

Cheyenne Indian Proverb

With fine weather forecast for the weekend it was decided to order the fine limestone aggregate to finish off the paths in the Jurassic Garden.  Portland Stone delivered the 3 cubic metres of stone at 10.00 and by 13.30 it had all been wheel-barrowed into the garden and made good with the wacker plate.

By early afternoon the task had been completed

Raking level and the vibrating plate making good the surface

The view from our eco-loo

The finished piece!
The masses of frogspawn

The frogspawn was laid exactly one week later than last year.  At one point during the day 37 frogs were counted together at the shallow end of the pond, but there were more swimming about so a realistic total of 50 is quite likely

The crocuses are attracting early bees and several species have been seen in the garden this week.  Some small andrena types and along with the more familiar Buff-tailed Bumblebee a queen Tree Bumblebee was spotted flying around the garden probably looking for  a nest site.

Tree Bumblebee
Some time was spent in the WW2 garden and by the end of the afternoon it had been tidied up ready for planting.

The smaller minature daffodils are now appearing across the garden.  They, too, were attracting insects

The final job of the weekend was to start work on the new composting area.  We are making three large compost 'bins' which should make things easier in the garden and allow us to turn the maturing compost regularly and get it back on the ground quicker.  The holes were dug and the posts cemented in.  Next week we can hopefully finish the task.

The new composting area

Finally, further proof that Spring is nearby the first Hoverfly of the year was spotted sunning itself on the garden sign.  A common species, Eristalis pertinax, is one of the first to emerge. The front and middle legs are yellow.

The first Hoverfly of the year
We are hoping to organise a working party over the Easter holidays.  Details will appear on the blog later.

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!