school garden

school garden

Monday, 12 November 2012

Weather the weather.....

The English are known for their obsession with the weather.  Indeed Oscar Wilde is quoted as saying that "conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative". That may be so but for many of us it is day to day conversation and those with hobbies and interests in the weather we cannot leave the topic alone.

Throwing caution to the wind on sunday the garden volunteers installed a full blown weather station.  The data collected will be of use to individuals but also hopefully to the school as the collected data can be 'number crunched' into graphs and charts. Working with  figures is great for education. Master figures and you have the world at your feet.

A new feature on the skyline

A closer look as you walk up the path will reveal the weather station

Inside the main shed is the display screen.  Staff and pupils are welcome to look at the screen and take daily notes if they wish.  Please though do not touch or move the display screen as it is quite fragile. All the data will be downloaded each week and the information then made available to the school if teachers would like to use the data  as a tool to aid, and further, education.

We started this topic with a quote, so we will finish with another quote, about the weather.  Mark Twain commented that "Climate is what we expect but weather is what we get"


A lot of people decry Ivy but in the right place it is of great value especially at this time of year.  It provides some of the last flowers of the year and many insects can often be found on a sunny day making the most of this.  Yesterday the Ivy flowers about the school garden were covered in bees and hoverflies.  The prominent bee though was the Ivy Colletes (Colletes hederae).  This is a solitary, mining bee which occurs along the coast in Southern England and across Europe.  The females are a little larger than the males.  They look a little wasp like but they are certainly bees.  They were very busy as they have to seal the egg chambers which are underground with a pollen/honey mix for the emerging adult next August or September. 

The beauty of digital cameras is that you do not waste a roll of film just to get a couple of half decent pictures.  Many pictures were taken but only three were considered for the blog


In all the pictures the pollen sacs ( the bulging yellow things which look like bicycle panniers) can be seen to be very full indicating the importance of this plant.  The insect has orange brown hairs on the thorax.  The striped body could give an immediate impression of a wasp.

Honey bees were also in evidence and several Hoverflies including the Dronefly, as it is called, Eristalis tenex.

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