school garden

school garden

Monday, 29 July 2013

NGS Weekend

"It rains on the umbrellas here"


The rain is raining all around,
It falls on field and tree,
It rains on the umbrellas here,
And on the ships at sea.
Saturday in the rain

Sunday in the rain
The wonderful bees from class 2P
Begonia "Inferno orange"

Canary Creeper in the greenhouse
Rove Beetle Staphylinus caesareus

Mining Bee Lassioglossum calceatum
Common Carder Bee
Oedemera nobilis

Thursday, 25 July 2013

The weather in June

Finally the weather for June has been downloaded from our weather station and a summary is shown below.

Day Midday Temp C Highest Temp C Wind Speed m/s Wind Direction    Air Pressure
1 16.6 19.7 3.4 NE/NW 1022
2 17.6 18.5 2 CYCLONIC 1029
3 17.4 18.7 1.4 SE/SW 1030
4 15.2 18.3 2.4 SE/SW 1025
5 16 19.7 2.4 SE/SW 1019
6 22.4 25.4 1.4 CYCLONIC 1020
7 17.7 22.6 2 CYCLONIC 1020
8 21.3 23.3 2 NW/N/NE 1019
9 15.5 17.8 1.7 SE/SW 1014
10 14 15.6 2.7 SE/S 1014
11 13.4 16.7 2.4 SE/SW 1012
12 12.8 13.6 3 SE/SW 1008
13 15.3 16 3.4 SW 1014
14 15.1 17.4 2.7 SW/SE 1015
15 13.6 15.8 5.4 SW/SE 1009
16 15 15.8 2.4 SE/SW 1011
17 19.2 24.5 1 CYCLONIC 1010
18 14.6 18.2 1 SE/S 1013
19 20.8 24.5 1 CYCLONIC 1014
20 14.2 16.7 1 CYCLONIC 1009
21 15.3 17.5 2 SW/SE 1012
22 15.4 15.6 3.4 SW/SE 1006
23 15.7 17.1 2.7 NW/N/NE 1014
24 16.6 16.8 2.4 CYCLONIC 1024
25 16.5 18.8 1.7 S/SW/SE 1030
26 19.9 20.5 1.4 CYCLONIC 1031
27 18.5 19.5 1.7 CYCLONIC 1027
28 19.8 21.9 1.4 CYCLONIC 1021
29 20 21.6 2 CYCLONIC 1025
30 17.2 19.4 2 CYCLONIC 1021 

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

A cause to celebrate.....

On the Birch trees which mark the entrance to the Memory Garden several leaves have been infected with a mite.  The species is Aculus leionotus  and uses birch trees as the host species. Mites are small, often microscopic and are very successful invertebrates.  They go largely unseen but some species are obvious especially when they form blisters on leaves.

Aculus leionotus

However the school garden is not all about latin names for the more elusive species.  Sometimes there is cause to celebrate and last weekend was no exception.  With the water and electricity now in the garden, thanks to a kind donation from Brookvale Homes who manage Highclere House next door,the garden group decided to on a barbeque last Saturday evening. The weather was kind and the barbeque was held after an afternoon working party.

The new path linking the school garden and Highclere House is almost complete and we look forward to the next barbeque when the staff and residents  from Highclere will be invited along.  A community driven project which is destined be a splendid evening. The school garden has evolved over the past few years and is there for sharing and enjoying. Who better to share it with than our good neighbours!

This coming weekend (July 27th and 28th) the garden will be open to the public as part of the National Gardens Scheme. Opening times are from 13.00hrs -17.00hrs.  Anybody who would be able to help us steward the event will be most welcome.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Bit of a catch up.....

Firstly the good news.  The school garden now has water and electricity.  This week finally saw the installation of both of these utilities in the garden.  Both will prove handy.  Although we have some ten water butts scattered about the garden attached to every building  which helps to conserve water sometimes supplies do get low and now we will be able to deal with any shortage. The electricity will also be handy.  Working party helpers can now boil a kettle and brew a real cup of tea rather than bring flasks .  Also any DIY jobs which require drills and similar can now be executed much easier.

The electrical supply box before the water had been fixed

For security and safety reasons both the tap and electrical supply box will be made tamper-proof.

Elsewhere in the garden colour abounds. A random selection of photographs from some of the class beds shows vivid colour and form

Over the week some more bee species have been identified and also this Lesser Stag Beetle was found on a rotting log

In the greenhouse the vines and creepers are going well. On the Canary Creeper leaf mines were very obvious on the older leaves. It looks as if they were made by one of the moths of the Stigmatella group.  This is a large group but pictures of the leaf mines and the small larva are shown below

The Kiwi vine has produced flowers this year.  The garden group went around each flower with a paint brush hoping to pollinate them and perhaps helping the formation of Kiwi fruits.  Wonderful waxy looking flowers from pale pink to stark white.

Kiwi Vine flowers

The study of bees in the garden is becoming interesting with the search moving on to smaller bees as well as the larger and easier to identify bumble bees and cuckoo bees.  Bumble Bees store their collected pollen in baskets on their legs but the smaller bees often store pollen underneath their abdomen.  The insect has a 'brush' on the underside of the abdomen which it rubs across the flower head and the pollen sticks over the abdomen.  The picture below shows just such a bee with a 'brush'- it was subdued a little by keeping it in a cool place for a little while so that it could be identified

Recent art contributions to the garden from the school included this magnificent daffodil.

Finally in one of the bee houses things are afoot.  Lifting the lid recently revealed bee larvae and several cells.  In the cells shown which were built up against the plastic cover bee larvae can be seen. One is developing into a grub and in a cocoon. In some cells stored pollen can be seen.  The identity of these bees is still a mystery but we hope to solve that shortly.

There will be a working party this Saturday to help get the garden ready for the NGS open days at the end of July. All are welcome and we shall be celebrating the end of the day with a BBQ.  All welcome.  Meet 14.00 hrs at the school garden. Further details from the school office

Friday, 5 July 2013

Patience is bitter......

.....but its fruits are sweet. Attributed to Aristotle and hardly a more fitting quotation.  This week after much searching amongst the flowers in the school garden the Tree Bumblebee was finally discovered. It really is a  handsome bee.  The bee spotted was a female - it has a slightly more gingery thorax.  The insect was photographed on white paper to show it off better

Tree Bumblebee

Tree Bumblebee

Prior to this event last Friday saw the results of the School Arts Week project culminate with a display of artifacts constructed by the children exhibited in the school garden. Wonderful mini-beasts were placed about the garden, some under bushes, some hung from trees and some more discreetly positioned. One was found yesterday almost a week after the event. A few are shown below.  We would like to show them all but space prevails

Flowers were also constructed and positioned about the garden

A fantastic effort and full marks to the teachers and children alike.The mini-beasts have been safely put in the HQ shed to stop them deteriorating in the weather.  They will be proudly put on display again on the National Gardens Scheme weekend when the garden is open to the public.

Further good news is that the electric and water supply to the garden is a step nearer. last weekend the contractors arrived and sank the electric cable and the water pipes under the drive and into the school garden.  Hopefully now it will not be long before we are 'up and running'

With warm weather forecast for the next week at least ,the garden should respond and more flowers appear and vegetables continue to mature.