school garden

school garden

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Of Gulls and Bees

Recent activity in the school garden involved using our shredder.  Over the winter months we had amassed a large pile of garden waste which we put to one side to be shredded.  The entire heap was shredded fairly quickly and we got 8 wheelbarrow loads of chippings which we spread onto the path behind the pond.

This weekend we have worked on the Willow Classroom, repairing and replacing some of the wood.It was an interesting day as many migrant birds passed through the garden having recently made landfall at the coast.  Many were Chiffchaffs which had returned from West Africa. These birds weigh about 9 grams.  The journey they make is amazing for their size.  It was also a noisy day as many of the nearby Herring Gulls which were reclaiming their nest sites on nearby buildings were active in and about the garden. At one point a bird opened a bag which had bread in it and started to help itself..

However not be outdone another gull managed to pull off some amazing acrobatics as it stood upside down on the bird table trying to take the meal worms which had been put out for the Robin.

The brief spell of sunshine tricked several Buff-tailed bumble bees to take to the air but their flights were short lived as the temperature dropped as quickly as it had climbed.  The bees became unfortunately downed. Some were found and rescued and put into safe warmer places.

By the end of the day the potatoes had been planted in the old tyres and the World War 2 bed, the new Clematis had been planted, and the Honeysuckle tidied and retied to the pergola. A quick look at the pond before we left revealed that some of the frog spawn had 'hatched' and some very small tadpoles were seen swimming about.

Friday, 15 March 2013

February in the School Garden

Below is a summary of the weather recorded from the School Weather Station in the garden for the month of February.  The close relationship between the wind from the North East (NE) and the drop in temperature is clear

Day Midday Temp C Highest Temp C   Wind Speed m/s Wind Direction Air Pressure  
1 7 7.2 1 W 992
2 6.3 8.4 2.7 N 1013
3 8.8 9.7 3.4 SW 1011
4 10.2 11.4 3.7 W 1010
5 5.1 6.9 6.1 NE 996
6 6.1 7.5 7.1 N 1004
7 5.4 6.4 1.4 NW 1011
8 6.4 7.9 3.4 NWW 1013
9 6.7 7.3 1.7 N 1010
10 7.6 8.8 5.8 SE 983
11 3.2 4.6 3.6 NE 990
12 2.9 4 2 NE 1006
13 4.8 5.7 5.4 S 1011
14 11.1 12.8 2.4 NW 1007
15 9.7 12.7 1.7 NW 1015
16 9.5 10.8 2.7 SE 1016
17 9.4 10.3 4.1 SE 1012
18 8.5 10.3 3.1 S 1011
19 9.6 12.7 1.7 NE 1011
20 5.5 6.4 2.7 SW 1012
21 2.7 2.7 3.7 NE 1012
22 2 2.5 3.4 NE 1009
23 3 3.5 3.1 N 1012
24 2.1 2.4 3.7 NE 1015
25 5.1 8.3 3.4 NW 1018
26 4.6 4.8 3.4 NE 1022
27 3.4 4.2 4.4 NE 1024
28 4 6.5 1.7 NE 1019  

Monday, 11 March 2013

Can Spring be far behind?

We recently quoted this line from 'Ode to the West Wind' by Shelley and it appears from today's weather that perhaps Spring is still a long way off!

The daffodils and crocuses which have been in flower for a couple of weeks now and the frog spawn which appeared in the pond yesterday seems to have given us a false sense that the arrival of Spring was imminent.  This morning Weymouth awoke to an icy blast and a sprinkling of snow.  A visit to the school weather station late afternoon today revealed that at 14.00hrs this afternoon the wind chill was -8.2C.  The outside temperature struggled to rise just above freezing point after lunch.The strongest wind gust at the School garden today was 23mph although it seemed much stronger than that.  The garden has a degree of shelter unlike the beach and coastal areas around it.

Snow in March is unusual but not unknown.  Possibly the last snow in the town in March was in 2009.

The frog spawn in the pond survives. The water was not frozen this afternoon but not far off it!

Frog spawn

There are two white buckets of frog spawn under the roof of the pond dipping platform for examination if teachers wish to show the children.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

A very big 'thank you' !

The school garden has recently been given a very generous sum of money. Peter Curtis, the Chief Executive for Gracewell Healthcare has presented the school with a cheque for £8,750 which will mean that we can now install mains electricity and water in the garden.  The presentation was made recently in the school garden in front of a small group of children.

Gracewell Healthcare have built the new £7m 70 bed property next door to the garden. It has been named Highclere House after children from the school were invited to name the building.  Both the school and the staff and residents of Highclere House look forward to a successful partnership.  The residents will have access to the garden 'out of school hours'.  The garden as we all know is a lovely peaceful place and in Spring and Summer is alive with bird song and butterflies.  We are sure that the residents will enjoy our garden and if this year the summer is kind to us we can arrange a few evening in the garden over a BBQ for the school,residents and staff alike of Highclere House to enjoy

Peter Curtis presenting the cheque

Once again, a very big 'thank you'!

This evening, in the very thick mist, a late visit to the garden was made.  In the memory garden the soft  and ever changing lights from our special feature there gave a really ethereal feel to that corner of the garden

In the fading light a familiar sight was spotted in the pond. Frog Spawn- lots of it.  Tomorrow it will be rescued it before the Blackbirds and Herons find it and enjoy it for breakfast!