school garden

school garden

Monday, 28 September 2009

Bennetts Water Gardens Donate plants for our school pond.

Here is a list of the plants that Bennetts Water Gardens have donated to our school pond this autumn:

Caltha palustris (marsh marigold, Kingcup)

Carex pendula (pendulud sedge)

Ceratophyllum demersum (hornwort)

Cyperus longus (sweet galingale)

Juncus inflexus (hard rush)

Lychnis flos-cuculi (Ragged Robin)

Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife)

Myosotis scorpiodes (water forget-me0not)

Nymphoides peltata (water fringe)

Stratiotes aloides (water soldier)


Thank you very much to Bennetts Water Gardens.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

The Building of the Pond

There was only really one place in the school garden area that was suitable for the pond that the children had asked for, and that was to the right of the main path before the Gardening Club bed and the Dorset Cereals Garden.
Many months of planning and scouring the internet took place before the final decision on the size and type of pond was reached. Lots of photos of other school ponds were looked at and many considered not good enough for our school.
What we wanted had to be, not so small, that it became choked with vegetation. Not too shallow, so it dries out too easily in a hot summer. Not too deep, that a child can't be easily reached and yanked out. Deep enough for good pond dipping, with a reasonable sized platform to accommodate several children safely at once. With a bank to use up the spoil from the pond, that can be planted with wild flowers. Also a bog garden so that a wide selection of pond wildlife will be encouraged to colonise the area. And for the wildlife, a shallow beach so that if they fall in by accident, they can climb out.

And finally, we needed a good pond contractor who knew what he was doing and who would construct a pond to last for a long time without maintenance. And here it is...

This was the plot that was picked for the pond. It was marked out with a yellow hose to start with, extended in size over time and finally marked out with paint by Goddards the landscaper whilst consulting with Samantha and Helen, on the day before commencement.

The first day of work mid August

A hole in the ground, a bog garden and a bank... really!

Tall posts for the pergola that will cover the main path. Short posts for the safety fence. Nice, smooth, soft sand to line the pond. Well it was smooth when they left that evening, but...

Overnight the resident school fox and by the look of it some of her pals, had a sand bunker party and trampled all over the smooth sand!
Nothing that couldn't be put right.

A soft blanket layer went over the sand, then the really thick liner and finally some water.

The pebble edging goes down. Larger pebbles mixed with small ones.

The framework for the dipping platform is laid.

Pond nearly full of water and the platform nearly finished.

A sturdy all weather platform that will feature information and safety boards on the back wall.


Tuesday, 1 September 2009

The garden over the summer

Amazing to think that just 14 months ago we were faced with a wilderness and an unassembled show garden stacked in heaps. What a busy time we've had - I defy anyone not to be impressed.

1. We manually cleared the site
2. Got the show garden rebuilt and tended to all the plants in pots whilst building took place
3. We replanted all of the show plants and even harvested the apples.
4. We assessed the remaining space and made plans
5. We cleared and levelled an area for raised beds which we assembled and installed in time for Easter
6. We sourced local willow from Abbotsbury Swannery, made new friends and planted Dorset's first living willow classroom and furnished it with logs donated by the Forestry Commission.
7. We bid for and got £10,000 lottery money and made more plans
8. The school community raised another £10,000
9. We bought and put up a shed
10. We researched, and planned and got quotes for a pond - then we got the pond built by Goddards Landscapes Ltd who did a first class job. (See Separate blog on Pond Building)
11. We were donated £2,000 from Holy Trinity Church for a memory garden
12. We researched, and planned and got quotes for the memory corner - then we got it designed and built by Roger Lanigan of Mayfield Rustics, who prodoced a lovely, unique, quiet area for us.

Well done to everyone who contributed!

Enjoy the fruits of our labours in these photos.....

The show garden

Still a mess but getting there

January snow (rare in Weymouth)
Raised bed area under way

Marking out the willow classroom

Willow entrance tunnel

Our new shed

Raised beds ready for use

Raised beds used

Memory corner started

Pond started

Saturday, 22 August 2009

The Garden Open day

What a great day! (photos to follow)

I know it's been a while now since our open day but so much seems to go on in the summer term that it's hard to find a time to write. I'm here now though so let's try and give you a run down of how things went.
The day started off very gloomy and overcast and at 1.55pm the heavens opened and we all got drenched. The garden opened at 2pm and it was still raining. Oh No!!! Hold on though, don't despair, I can see the sun. 10 minutes later the rainclouds had gone, the sun was shining and the rest of the afternoon remained sunny and dry. Hallelujah

We were so pleased with how the afternoon went. We had approx 15 scarecrow entries from local schools and individuals. The scarecrows were judged in 2 categories by Nick Williams-Ellis. The Brownies won the group category and their prize was a Dorset Cereals Garden Starter Kit, kindly donated by Dorset Cereals. The individual prize was won by Jacob Newport and his prize was a childrens garden kindly donated by Rocket Gardens.

We had a number of plant stalls. We sold plants that we had grown ourselves and that the school community had donated to us. Other schools came along with their plants. Visiting plants stalls included
Peppers By Post (or Seaspring Seeds) from West Bexington, famed for producing the hottest chillies ever and also Post Office Plants from Martinstown.

We also had a number of craft stalls: a wood turner Mr Muncaster who was a surprise neighbour just 5 minutes away who made beautiful bowls. David from Hundred Aker Wood Pottery came along with his pottery wheels and sold pottery as well as letting the children have a go at making their own pots for a small fee. Local stone sculptor Sarah Gilpin who teaches sculpting on Portland brought blocks of stone and allowed people to try their hand at sculpting.
Mary Mayer is a local crafts person who makes lovely dressed dolls which were very popular with the children. Lastly we had a stand by Green Beginnings who offer a local Ecover refilling service around the Weymouth area.

Displays of country dancing and Maypole dancing were performed by some of our year 1 and year 6 children. Our MayPole has been made by hand by a very talented and special friend of the garden and was funded by a local business: Tristan Murless of TGM Electrical.

Fresh scones were baked in the school kitchen by Sandy and Gill and were served in our cream teas with Craigs Dairies clotted cream and local jam. They were as delicious as they sound and were served with Fairtrade teas, coffee and sugar.

We had storey telling on our new willow classroom. This was such a magical part of the whole afternoon. The stories were read by one of the school governors who had all the children enthralled with his storey telling about a butterfly searching the garden for food and a little boy who grew vegetables with his Grandad. To see all those children gathered around in the willow classroom was such a treat.

We had such a great turnout from friends and neighbours. The local community attended in their droves and we were able to raise just short of £1000 which we will be using to help us maintain and develop the garden in the future.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for all their help on the day, for the lovely prizes donated, for bringing their stalls to the event and for coming as members of the public to view the garden and support this new school initiative.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

The Garden in June

Welcome to Holy Trinity School Garden in June. To think that less than a year ago this was an overgrown wilderness, long grass, brambles and ragwort. The Dorset Cereals Garden is now well established. The vines are growing healthily and not a single perennial plant has been lost.

The herb bed has been a great success needing little attention as most of the plants are derived from hardy natives that are used to fending for themselves.

The raised bed area has been just right for new growing talents.
This is not an uncultivated bed, but one where the crop of potatoes has been harvested, cooked and sampled by the class! Well done Mrs Palmer!
The bare tree has succumbed to disease but the corner beyond will become the 'Garden of Memories' in the next 6 months.

Raised Bed area, dark plants along the edging are thyme which we hope will establish itself.

Yellow hosepipe, always a necessity in the garden, especially as the tap is 100 metres plus away.

I hope you enjoyed your visit to the garden please keep an eye on us as we continue our development of the area to include a wildlife pond with dipping platform, hopefully to be installed in the summer holidays.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Wow, what a busy Friday

Yesterday was a lovely sunny day. The Eco Warriors finished their Eco suggestion boxes at lunch time and then it was time for me to move on to the garden. I had seen classes going up to and back from the garden through the art room windows. Now it was our turn.

We had had a delivery from Rocket Gardens the day before, courtesy of Dorset Cereals - Thanks Guys. These plug plants needed placing in the garden and so we had 6 helpers, 3 from year 1 and three from year 2.

When we arrived in the garden it was already full of a year 2 class, sowing seeds, planting up their beds and enjoying the willow classroom:

and some of year 5 were up there tending to their bed also. They had sown some purple sprouting broccoli seeds that they now wanted to transplant into their bed:

Here's my helpers planting some lettuces, spinach and tomato plug plants and then watering them. We are all going to be enjoying our cut and come again in no time at all.

Wow, what a busy day in the garden!!