school garden

school garden

Monday, 24 February 2014

A very busy weekend

"never try to catch two frogs in one hand"

An old Chinese proverb.

With that in mind this weekend saw a lot of activity in the school pond.  On Saturday evening over 17 frogs were seen splashing about at the shallow end of the pond.  On Sunday morning there was a lot of frog spawn there and the frogs were still paired up and splashing about and resting on the sides.  After three years the pond has now matured enough to attract plenty of frogs.

Away from the pond area the greenhouse has over the past few days been dismantled and rebuilt and secured on a bed of concrete blocks.  The glass was removed and recycled and is being replaced with polycarbonate sheets

Once dismantled the site was cleaned and made ready for the concrete blocks

After repositioning the greenhouse the new polycarbonate sheets had to be measured and fitted to the greenhouse.

By the end of Sunday the roof had been re-glazed with the polycarbonate sheets and also one side.  By the end of the forthcoming week the greenhouse should be completely refurbished and we can move the exhibits and staging back inside and start planting ready for 2014!

Finally our good friends at Doonans popped by on Saturday morning and delivered some brick rubble which is just what we wanted to progress with the Jurassic Garden.  It will mean that the wheelbarrows and sledge hammer will be busy next weekend! We thank them very much.

As we left the garden a very vocal Green Woodpecker made itself known and possibly another queen Buff-tailed Bumble Bee was seen flying around the Aeolian wind organ.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Catching up

"Whoso neglects learning in his youth,
Loses the past and is dead for the future".

Euripides.  from Phrixus

Following the recent spell of violent storms and torrential rain the garden group has  met on a couple of afternoons to assess the damage and make good where possible.  Most things survived but the greenhouse took the brunt of the storm on 15th Feb.  However the frame held firm and just six panes of glass succumbed to the forces of nature.  Following this damage it was decided to replace the glass with polycarbonate sheets.  The glass is now getting very old and brittle.  When Ron gave us the greenhouse four years ago it had been stood in his garden for many years.  We thank the Friends of Holy Trinity for their generous donation which made the purchase of the polycarbonate sheets possible.

The good news is that the polycarbonate has arrived and hopefully when we get a couple of calm  days we can take the greenhouse apart, re-fix onto a bed of breeze blocks and fix down again.  Once this has been done we can start the long job of reglazing.

After downloading the school weather station the strongest gust in the school garden on the night of the 15th February was 50mph (just over 22m/s).  Of interest is also the amount of rain which has fallen on the garden this month so far. From 120mm at the start of the month to 520 mm this Sunday- about 15 inches!  The storm earlier in the month 5th/6th February and again on the 12th February showed the maximum gusts to be about 38 mph. Click on the graphs to enlarge

The 50mph peak gust is clearly shown
The dramatic rise in recorded rainfall over the ten day period.

Sunday was spent giving the Willow Classroom a good haircut.  Willow grows very quickly in the Spring and it is essential to remove unwanted growth and direct it where we want it- at the base to consolidate the sides with green leaves and also to tie in the dome on the roof.

The Willow gets a trim!

A couple of butterflies and bees had stirred in the glorious sunshine and showed themselves off in the garden. A male Brimstone butterfly and a Small Tortoisehell were seen and a large (possibly a queen) Buff-tailed Bumblebee.   Bumble bees, a Drone Fly and a couple of Honey bees were also seen.

Brimstone butterfly resting on the warm ivy

Drone Fly wallowing in pollen

Queen Buff-tailed Bumblebee- possibly nest hunting whilst feeding

Finally during the morning a pair of Great Tits were very active in the garden suggesting that they were looking for a nesting site.  That is exactly what they finally did but they shunned the bird nest boxes and took a big interest in one of the bat boxes! The female made a couple of inspection visits and then flew off over the fence. Birds are not unknown to nest in bat boxes.  We will watch to see how things develop!