school garden

school garden

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Forgotten your watch?

As from today there is no excuse if you need the time and have forgotten your watch. Just nip up to the Memory Garden. You will of course have to remember if we are on Greenwich Mean Time or British Summer Time. Also you will need the sun to be shining.

The sun is shining - let us get a little closer...

It is three o' clock.

A sundial was installed this morning in the Memory Garden. The passage of time is very important to all of us  for many reasons. For this reason we have put the sundial here so that anybody can sit and consider the time past, the time present or the time future.

There is now four times as much frog spawn in the pond as the last blog. The frogs have been busy. Some of the frogspawn has been removed from the pond and put in a bucket under the pond dipping platform. This because the Herons and the Blackbirds will eat the frogspawn if they get a chance. The spawn left in the pond has had a net put over it to hopefully keep the birds away.  Anybody wishing to get a close up of the frogspawn without having to peer into the pond can observe it in the bucket. When the tadpoles have hatched we will put them back into the pond. Unfortunately the dragonfly larvae also eat small tadpoles but they will have to sort things out themselves.

The masses of frogspawn

A close up

Location of the frog spawn for easy viewing- the white bucket

The pond sign was repositioned today on two sturdy green stakes.

It was a glorious day in the garden with many birds in song,  lots of bees, bumble bees, a peacock butterfly and even a hoverfly seen. One bumble bee was very interested in the croscus flowers

In we go - head first!

It did seem like Spring today so hopefully things are now turning and we can say goodbye to winter. It is another chapter in the passage of time!

Friday, 24 February 2012

Just when you turn your back.......

On tuesday we were hoping for frog spawn by the end of the week and this morning there it was.Two large masses of spawn where spotted in the pond this morning. Along with the spawn were two pairs of frogs. One pair was swimming around by the pond dipping platform and another pair were cuddled up in the frog house.

The new frog spawn

Frog house residents

Photographs taken with phone as the golden rule was broken- no camera in the car!  Hopefully by the end of the week there will be  even more frog spawn and we can again watch the wonderful process of metamorphosis.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Plenty of chips please!

Today we were very lucky to have several small lorry loads of bark and wood chips delivered for use in the school garden. They will come in very useful to patch up several areas where the existing bark chips have thinned or even disappeared. We are extremely grateful for this delivery and thank our benefactor very much.

The wood chip pile

Spreading out the load ready for use

The fine weather in the past two days lent itself to some maintenance in the school pond. During the work a little pond dipping could not be resisted.  The school pond always turns up something interesting. Again it did not fail.  A freshly emerged, first stage nymph of a dragonfly - the scientific name is a stadium - was discovered along with many smaller more developed nymphs of damselflies.  Several small newts were also found.

The very small dragonfly nymph- possibly Libellula depressa

Dragonfly and damselfly nymphs together

You can just make out the feathery 'tails' on the smaller damselfly nymphs. (Click on picture to enlarge things a little) These are called caudal lamellae and look like three leaf-like structures protruding from the abdomen of the damselfly larvae; these provide the main means of respiration and may also be involved in defence. The shape, relative lengths and patterning of these caudal lamellae are important features in species identification.

Young newt - you can just make out the rear legs growing

A little bit of fine weather now with things warming up should give the frogs a chance to meet up and produce some frog spawn. Frog spawn has appeared in some ponds  in Dorchester already so we await events here at Holy Trinity.

The crocuses are also looking good at the moment and well worth a look

Sunday, 19 February 2012

The Woodpigeons are back!

Considerable activity has taken place during half term in the garden. Also there are signs that Spring is not far away.  Robins, Dunnocks and Blackbirds are all in song and the noisey Herring Gulls have been shouting at each other from the nearby rooftops over the past few days. Of more concern  though is the recent return of the Woodpigeons. They are cooing from every available tree at the moment and casting down a beady eye just incase any seeds have been sown.

The daffodils are looking splendid now

and the ladybirds are waking up

Ladybirds photgraphed on Valentines Day

In the greenhouse things are afoot.  The Papyrus stems  have been cut and the roots saturated which has resulted in several new shoots already appearing. On the staging the new cacti and living stones displays have been finished. These portray the plants in a more natural surroundings than  plastic flower pots.

The new cactus bed

The Living Stones in their new home

Finally the garden has a new friend and helper.

The new shredder

The finished product

Our new friend will help deal with  the large amount of green compost which we develop at the end of the summer and  shred it down so that we can mulch it and return it to the ground.  All part of the eco-cycle.

An apparent marital dispute with the Herring Gulls next door!