school garden

school garden

Thursday, 18 December 2014

"To ask is no sin...

To be refused is no calamity"

A Russian proverb

The airspace above the garden  is usually taken by large airliners flying to and from the Caribbean and South American destinations.  However this strange craft was observed recently hovering over the Jurassic Garden. It stayed briefly and then disappeared.  Later the owner provided us with some aerial photographs of our latest project taken by the drone.

photograph courtsey of JJ Studios

photograph courtesy of JJ Studios
The pictures show clearly the ammonite shape and provided us with a quite different view of the garden.

Some winter flowering pansies have been planted to brighten up the garden  but there is till a lot of colour remaining.

 Alongside the greenhouse the ground has been prepared and a new area designated for the cold frame kindly donated by the Dorset Gardens Trust. The cold frame will be assembled and positioned in the New Year.  The sheltered area by the green house was deemed the best location for this.

Two plastic planks left over made a good shape

Once the membrane had been laid to stop the weeds from coming through some spare limestone chippings were put inside and the cold frame base made good. The cold frame will be a useful asset to the garden enabling young plants to be hardened off once taken out of the greenhouse.

The greenhouse has become a holding bay for many plants which will remain there now until the Spring.  Then they will be planted in the Jurassic Garden.  We have been kindly given a good range of magnificent plants including some very large ferns

Ferns and Banana plants


Various large leaved plants

The insectivorous plants are shutting down for the winter period.
Sweet pea seeds have been planted and will remain in the greenhouse for the time being.  They should start growing soon and will be stopped to keep then tight and bushy ready for planting out in the Spring.

Finally insects are still on the wing even this late into December.  Buff-tailed bumble bees are still regularly observed and both Red Admiral and Peacock butterflies have been seen recently.  An ichneumon wasp was seen apparently drinking from rain spots on a car!

Ichneumon wasp
These insects are a tricky group to sort out and a microscope is needed to key out the species concerned.

The school breaks up on friday for the Christmas holidays. We take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

"It is better to have less thunder in the mouth....

and more lightning in the hand"

An Apache Indian saying from North America

The third load of aggregate has been delivered by Portland Stone and now been put into position which has finally completed the paths in the Jurassic area.  This means that over the past few weeks the garden group has wheel-barrowed  some 34 tons of aggregate.  There is just one more 5 ton load to be delivered.  This will be a much smaller grade of stone to finish off  and make good the surface.

The third load!

Spreading it out

Almost there

Finished at last!

View from the gate

The completed Ammonite shaped path

The fine weather continues although with a few colder nights.  In the garden several butterflies have been observed -both Red Admiral and Small Tortoiseshell have been seen flying and basking in the sunshine.  Buff-tailed bumble-bees are still on the wing and have been seen all week.

Buff-tailed Bumble-bee

Flowers still hang on even in the first week of December.  Begonias, marigolds, echiums and Cupid's Dart are all still in bloom.

Cupid's Dart

On Saturday the garden held host to the Holy Trinity Church Carol Service.  The school welcomed some 100 adults and children.  We especially welcomed our friends from Highclere House who braved the (not too chilly) evening.  The gardens were floodlit and hot chocolate was provided for those attending.  The school choir led the singing and we thank Mrs de Chazel for arranging the songs and encouraging participation.

Welcoming hot chocolate

Tea lights picked out the paths

A reflection in the school pond

Carol singers around the willow classroom

The colourful scene  along the wall

The Sycamore trees bathed in colour

Another shot of the Sycamore trees and the full moon rising

A dramatic shot

The next task for the garden group is to prepare the area ready for the cold frame which has been kindly donated by the Dorset Gardens Trust. Work will now proceed with this project and hopefully the chosen site will be ready by Christmas. The finishing of the Jurassic paths will be completed early in the new year which will give the aggregate time to settle properly.

Monday, 24 November 2014

"There are no rules of architecture....

for a castle in the sky"

A quote from Gilbert Chesterton.

We start with some dramatic pictures of the sunset over the school garden this weekend.  No artist can create such magnificence.  Nature will win every time!

Wonderful stuff and good for the soul!

Back to the garden. At the end of the week ten tons of topsoil were delivered to make good the main growing beds and profile the planting areas around the Jurassic Garden.  The old tired soil was removed from the salad and vegetable beds and wheel-barrowed down to the Jurassic area and a barrow load of fresh top soil was taken back.  No-one was allowed to be seen with an empty wheelbarrow!

The arrival of ten tons of fresh topsoil

A busy scene in the garden on Saturday
The replenished salad bed

Digging out the old soil
Ready for planting next Spring

The last of the vegetables were dug up- carrots and a few small turnips.  They will not be wasted!  Half the makings of a good stew

The pile of soil soon started to disappear
All gone!

Redefining the main planting area with more interest
Colour was not only in the sky this weekend.  The golden leaves of autumn carpeted the grass.  The Field Maple is particularly stunning

Finally the details for the carol service.  It will be held 17.00 hrs on Saturday December 6th in the School  Garden.  Do join us. Bring a torch and a warm coat and a seat if you wish.  The school choir will once again delight us and the  garden will be flood light.  If wet weather prevails it will be held in the School Hall

This next week more stone will be delivered to finish off the base layers of the paths around the Jurassic area. It will then remain for just the top of the paths to be made good with a finer aggregate and then we must wait until next Spring when we can start planting up. Exciting times are ahead!!